Thursday, March 05, 2009

Snow in St Katherines (Sinai)

It snowed recently on the highest peaks of the Sinai Peninsula. A very knowledgeable friend explained how snow was more useful and valuable than rain in these areas.

Rain rushes down, causing soil erosion, flash flooding, erosion of top soil, among other problems.

When it snows, and the snow then melts slowly, as it happened this time, the melting snow percolates at a much better rate into the water table.

Baraka Gardens are a mountain and desert garden retreat in this peninsula. They sent out a wonderful mail titled "Snow in Egypt - Blessing for Gardens". I reproduce the text here below:

Blessing for the mountain gardens of Sinai

The previous winter there was very little snow and rain, and many of the trees in the mountains, including one of only 8 ancient mulberry trees, died as a result. The winter of 2008-09 was even worse – there was no precipitation at all, throughout the winter months and we had to think about the worse. Then the mild spring weather turned into what winter should have been like from the beginning; on the morning of 1st March the town of St. Katherine and the mountains were covered in snow, a sight people had not seen for a decade.

The snow in some patches will remain in the high mountains for another week or so, but
most of it started melting right away, forming streams and water falls, soaking into the ground and replenishing the water table. The timing couldn’t be better – it is the beginning of spring and wild plants just as much as fruit trees were literally dying for a little water. Within a few days the dry shrubs came back to life with little flowers appearing and filling the wadis with the scent of mountain herbs, and planting of new crops is under way in the gardens. This
spring will be very special, just like these few winter days were, and there are a number of natural water pools, springs and streams where water will be plentiful throughout the summer till next winter.

See images of this winter:

Learn about the Jabaleya gardening traditions and our garden retreat:

See other mountain garden retreats:

Information about St. Katherine and the region:

Please feel free to forward this email to others.

Thank you,

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