The Wohl Rose Park of Jerusalem
The Wohl Rose Park of Jerusalem was established in 1981 with the generous support of Vivienne and Maurice Wohl as a joint venture of the Jerusalem Municipality and the Jerusalem Foundation, accompanied throughout the years by the Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation.
The park is a unique public role park, stretching over an area of 19 acres (77,000 m2) in the heart of Israel's national government complex and across from the Knesset. The park's objectives are the collection, conservation and display of important species and varieties of roses and the introduction of new roses and dissemination of the rose culture in Israel.
With the establishment of the Wohl Rose Park of Jerusalem, the vision of Israeli rose enthusiasts of creating a national rose center in Jerusalem, which would conserve and display roses that are a national cultural assets worthy of being conserved in Israel, was finally realized. The leading initiator who worked to advance the idea was David Gilad, a senior rose specialist and the sixth president of the World Federation of Rose Societies (WFRS). He coordinated among the various institutions that partnered in the park's establishment and even planned the planting of roses in sections himself. The landscape design of the park was entrusted to Tichnun Nof Ltd. Landscape Architects (Joseph Segal, Uri Miller and Zvi Dekel).
In a festive ceremony, the park was dedicated as part of the WFRS's fifth international conference, conducted in Jerusalem in October 1981, in the presence of representatives from 24 countries.
Growing in the Rose Park are over 15,000 rose bushes, representing some 450 varieties from around the world, among them roses used for gardening, agriculture and scientific study, as well as varieties (such as 'Noah', 'Israela Amira' and 'Jerusalem') cultivated by Israeli rose professionals and enthusiasts. Also displayed there are wild roses from the Land of Israel (the Dog Rose and Phoenician Rose), ancient varieties from our region and rare or endangered roses designated for conservation.
The main flowering period of the park's roses is in the spring, from the end of April through mid May. The modern roses in the park continue to blossom through the summer and autumn seasons, until the start of winter.
The park's rose display is designed in a free and rounded style, presenting the gardening uses of roses: blossoming colorful sections, roses climbing up pillars and trellises, roses as sculpting elements, groundcover roses, roses grown as a standard, rose hedges and more.
The rose sections demonstrate the development of the various classification groups, from the species and relatives (including the Himalayan Rose and the Memorial Rose from the Far East), the old garden roses (such as the Damask Roses and varieties from the Victorian period) and up to modern roses, which are the most widespread throughout the park (the hybrid tea roses, floribunda, miniature roses, climbing roses and more).
The northern end of the park was planned as the Garden of Nations, containing sections of roses established through contributions from countries and communities worldwide. Each section has rose varieties characteristic of the contributing country, as well as trellises, sculptures and fountains. The western end of the park demonstrates the various section of the Rosa subgenus.
The Wohl Rose Park of Jerusalem manifests a professional center for the dissemination of rose culture for the benefit of professionals, researchers, rose breeders, gardeners and enthusiasts from Israel and abroad. Training activities, lectures and tours on the subject of roses are conducted there, as well as tours on the topic of urban nature in partnership with the Jerusalem Bird Observatory and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel. The park is a center of research and practical knowledge regarding the roses growing there and a general and comprehensive source of information concerning roses in Israel since 1920 (over 800 species and varieties). The park has a library, open to the public, on the subjects of roses, gardening, botany, landscaping and more. Different approaches to dealing with gardening roses, irrigation, fertilizers and pest and disease control are developing at the park.
The park received the 2003 Award of Garden Excellence from the World Federation of Rose Societies (WFRS) for its activities in the sphere of roses and their accessibility to the community.
The Wohl Rose Park of Jerusalem was recognized by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development as a unique rose botanical garden in 2008 and has received the ministry's support since 2013. Also growing in the park are some 200 species of ornamental trees, bushes and plants, including wide representation of conifers, Rosaceae and Juniperus plants and more. Park visitors can gain an impression of some rather unique and rare features, such as Syrian Ash-tree (Fraxinus syriaca 'Gan Havradim') and the common lilac (Syringa vulgaris 'Hillel').
The park is a choice spot for rest and recreation, with expansive lawns dispersed with vibrant rose sections, tall trees and benches forming shaded sitting areas, ornamental ponds, waterfalls and fountain sculptures. Tens of thousands of visitors from throughout Israel and Jerusalem, as well as tourists from around the world enjoy the park each year. Its cultivated landscape, cleanliness and atmosphere engender the respect and recognition of the visiting public.
Over the years, a tradition of events and political demonstrations in the park has developed as a result of its location in the heart of Israel's national government complex. These events and demonstrations are coordinated with the park management to ensure the optimal maintenance of the park and its special plant life.
The Wohl Rose Park is part of a green strip in western Jerusalem that includes Sacher Park, the Valley of the Cross and the Gazelle Valley, which are large swaths of open green space combining nature, panoramic views, history and heritage for the public's enjoyment. The park is in close proximity to important public buildings, including the Knesset, the Office of the Prime Minister and national government ministries, the Supreme Court and the Bank of Israel, as well as tourist sites such as "museum mile", the Jerusalem Bird Observatory and more.