Ramat Hanadiv's Memorial Gardens are, in fact, a collection of gardens, each distinguished by its own particular beauty. Today we invite you to step into the Palm Garden for a short while, where you'll find lots of shade and ambiance. To fully appreciate it, though, you'll have to raise your eyes high up into the massive green fronds above you.
The palm family comprises some 200 species and some 3,500 kinds of evergreen trees, reaching heights ranging from about 6-20 meters (20-65 ft.). They originated in the hot, humid climate of the tropics. They can also grow in desert areas near water sources or in places where the groundwater is relatively high; the presence of date palms in the desert are a sure sign of an oasis. Date trees, members of the palm family, accompanied our forefathers in their long wanderings through the sands of the Sinai. The tree provided them with food, shade, and raw materials for equipment and tents. When their sojourn in the desert was over and they entered the land of Israel, the date became one of the seven symbolic species 'with which our land was blessed'. In 12th-century Egypt, the great Jewish scholar/physician known as the Rambam wrote about the plant's medicinal, curative powers. In the annals of folk medicine, too, the fruit of the date tree is respected for its redemptive qualities.
In the Palm Garden at Ramat Hanadiv are some 70 types of palms, including date trees. They are mostly cultivated species; the date is the only one that grows in Israel. Among the palms in the Memorial Gardens, look for the iconic Washingtonia. Planted along the avenues of many of the new moshavot (farming villages) established by the Baron de Rothschild almost a century ago, this palm became the informal symbol and 'ID tag' of the Baron's settlements throughout Israel.
The palm trees in the Memorial Gardens are given special care throughout the year. Recently, an extra treatment was added: a broad-based preventive measure against the insidious palm weevil, which recently made its way from tropical countries to Israel and threatens to bring down many venerable palm trees.
If you look closely, you may see some of the many nesting birds that have found hiding places and food among the treetops and branches. Then, when you're ready for another horticultural experience, you can leave the southern part of the Palm Garden and enter the sweet-smelling Fragrance Garden and the lush lawns around it. Or go northward to enjoy the lovely paths, fountains, and floral displays of the European-style Rose Garden. Whatever you chose, be sure to take a deep breath or two and enjoy the serenity and scenery all around!