A million petals

by Sarah on February 20, 2013

almond blossom

Between clouds and sun, the blossoms open. At first shyly. Their fairy wing petals cling to the branches, fragile, exposed. A solitary bee hovers over the flowers and flies away.

Then, in a quiet cascade the landscape changes from winter to spring. The almond ushers in the new season with a sensual negligee of pink and white- an effervescent display which will disappear with the wind.  Soon they will return to proletarian green.

It is the Israeli version of hanami, the Japanese cherry blossom festival, except here the honor  isn’t regulated only to beauties. Cedars, Mediterranean oak, flaming Judas, figs, pine and eucalyptus- trees that are indigenous to the region and those only recently introduced- Tu Bishvat celebrates them all. However, unlike its Asian counterpart, the holiday often arrives when many of the deciduous trees are still bare.  The adornments appear later, with a sweeping wave of blooms.

It is a time when it hurts to remain indoors.

almond blossoms

Almond petals, like jasmine and orange are edible although almond blossom tea, I recently discovered, is rather insipid. According to Miriam of Israeli Kitchen the best part of preparing the tea is collecting the softly fragrant petals. They can also be used as herbal jewelry to decorate salads and desserts. It will be the most beautiful garnish you’ll ever use.

almond blossom

almond blossoms

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Yael February 20, 2013 at 12:34 pm

How beautiful! On my to work there is now totally insane amount of almond tree in full blossom. gorgeous!

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Rosa February 20, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Beautiful! Spring comes very early in Israel. Here, we still have snow, but there are signs of spring everywhere…

Cheers,

Rosa

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Zack February 20, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Hi Sarah:
This is a very nice article which makes my imaginations fly to hover on the colorfull meadows, the rolling hills and snow covered mountains. Oak trees, judas trees, wild or bitter almond bushes, wild pear, hawthorn, pine trees etc., are all indeginous to the region and contribute to the beauty of the locations where they exist. Only Eucalyptus species are not indeginous to this region; they are introduced mainly from Australia.
Thank you for brightenning my imaginations.

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Eha February 20, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Thank you for making us part of your nature . . . am still reading of the fierce cold in the American Mid-West and awaiting another spate of flooding rains on the Australian east coast – a horrendous year this: thus it is so heartwarming to see blossoms on the differing trees and know that you are enjoying an early but welcome spring . . .

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kellie@foodtoglow February 21, 2013 at 2:30 am

How beautiful! It makes your breath slow even looking at images of blossom. We will have to wait a bit here in Scotland for blossoms, but my apple tree is already starting to bud, with the cherry tree not far behind. One of my favourite sights is driving down a nearby residential avenue lined with cherry trees and being caught in a blossom ‘shower’ in early May. Yes, we have to wait that long!

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