The Memorial Gardens at Ramat Hanadiv, spread out across some 70 dunams (about 17 acres), are comprised of a number of distinct areas, each with its own character and features: The Waterfall Garden, the Fragrance Garden, the Rose Garden, and the Iris Garden. There are also sections that have been left without any horticultural meddling, allowing natural vegetation to grow there unimpeded. One of these is, an uncultivated patch of soil, lies to the right of Ramat Hanadiv's main entrance, between an impressive row of ficus trees and the Fragrance Garden beyond. In winter and spring, great waves of wildflowers bloom here, as they do in the Nature Park and other open areas throughout the Mediterranean: cyclamen, narcissus, anemones, tulips, mandrakes and more.
But even in our hot, dry summers, some hardy blossoms can be found embellishing the landscape. They're smaller and fewer than the flashy flowers of winter and spring (no carpets of bright colour in the blazing days of August), but it is possible to search them out. One of these is blooming at Ramat Hanadiv right now: the large scallop-leaved mullein (Verbascum sinuatum). The mullein's leaves are good for burning, and its stand-out yellow flowers are mentioned in ancient folk medicine and in Jewish sources, among them the mystical writings of the Kabbala. One reason for the mullein's appearance in Jewish literature and lore is its name: the Hebrew word for it (butzein) is derived from the Aramaic word for candle, and there are those who see a serious resemblance between the branched stems of the mullein plant and the branched arms of the menora (lamp), one of the most enduring symbols of the Jewish people.
The genus Verbascum comprises some 250 species, of which sixteen grow in Israel.
The scallop-leaved mullein is the most common one here, growing throughout the country and blooming from May till September -- another good excuse to visit Ramat Hanadiv's Memorial Gardens and Nature Park very soon.