Changing Colors for the Winter
Just before nature bares itself it treats us with spectacular pastel shades. Who asked for Europe and didn’t get it?
The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer and cooler and migrating birds adorn the cloudy skies. The air conditioners are on vacation and the windows are opening up to the autumn breeze.
And just now, when we begin layering up and returning the snuggle blankets to the living room, nature begins undressing, but not before it treats us to a show of colors that warm the heart in the autumn chill. There’s no need to travel to cold lands, even in our warm country we have the chance to see the yellow, orange and red autumn colors. We just need to lift our gaze to see how the green makes way for the warm colors and feel like we’re in Europe.
Logic says that when it’s cold we cover up rather than stripping down, so why do the leaves necessarily fall in the autumn? So the thing is that in trees the opposite occurs. The strategy of deciduous trees for dealing with the cold winter and decreased light is to enter hibernation and slow down their activity. The leaves fall during the first stages of this process.
Most of the leaves we are familiar with are green. The green shade is found in chlorophyll, which absorbs energy from the sun during the process of carbon dioxide assimilation known as photosynthesis. If the amount of available light is inadequate, the plant will prefer to take a break during the cold season. As the day shortens, the plant stops producing chlorophyll and stores the leaves’ products in the trunks and the roots. Leaf shedding begins when the plant produces an abscission layer between the leaf and the branch that bears it.
How are the autumn colors produced? Leaves contain antioxidant pigments that protect the photosynthetic system from overexposure to the sun’s radiation. They are yellow, orange and red in color and they become visible to us when the green chlorophyll begins to disappear.
So if you want to feel a bit like you’re in Europe without leaving home, get a glimpse of the range of autumn colors that paint Ramat Hanadiv during this season. The autumn stars are, of course, the deciduous trees.
Right at the entrance to the gardens, as you cross the main walkway between the buildings of the visitor center, you’ll see Virginia creeper climbing up the high stone walls and painting them fiery red. Even the slightest autumn breeze will bring down a rain of red leaves.
If you have a penchant for yellow, come and meet the oriental plane, the yellow autumn representative. Spectacular in its leaf shedding is the London plane tree growing next to the rose garden. Its yellow shades stand out and can be seen from a distance. Young London plane trees will welcome you with yellowishness in the walkways between the parking lot and the entrance plaza.
If you walk to the ‘footprint garden’ in the western part of the visitor center, you may enjoy the fall colors of the Chinese tallow. This middle-sized tree has diamond-shaped leaves that turn from fresh, light green to deep maroon red as the autumn progresses.
Several Mediterranean Hawthorn trees will await you along the eastern path of the rose garden. This is a shrubby tree that grows wild in Israel. Its autumn colors are pleasant, but its spectacular show is produced rather by its reddening fruits during the winter months when it is naked.
A glimpse from the gardens to the nature park will offer Mediterranean woodland adorned with red patches – the Atlantic Pistacia tree. You can see it up close in the gardens too, near the mausoleum of Baron Rothschild and his wife.
Of course, all of these spectacular colors fall to the ground, but they are an integral part of the autumn beauty. If you don’t hurry to rake the leaves, you’ll enjoy the changing shades on the ground as well, and later on receive a ready-made groundcover.
Are you still here? Now is the time to leave the screen and feel all of this beauty up close. Come and visit the gardens, feel the autumn and enjoy its changing colors, before the winter takes its place.