Due to open in 2014, Jordan’s Royal Botanic Garden is set to feature five local habitats (deciduous oak forest, pine forest, juniper forest, Jordan Valley and freshwater wadi), as well as themed gardens (medicinal, Islamic, the five senses, bees and more). Eventually there will be walks along 20km of scenic nature trails, birdwatching from concealed hides, a butterfly house, boat trips on the lake, a wholefood café-restaurant and ecolodge accommodation.
The site chosen for the garden is the hilly area of Tell Ar Rumman, to the west of the Amman–Jerash road about 25km north of the capital, overlooking the lake formed by the King Talal Dam. Because of the garden’s size (180 hectares, with more than 300m of elevation difference between mountain summits and the lakeshore) and its variety of habitats, most of Jordan’s native plant species can be grown onsite. It is intended to be a demonstration site, showcasing “sustainable living and environmentally compatible solutions that can be easily replicated by the average Jordanian”. For up-to-date information, call or check the website (06 541 3402, w royalbotanicgarden.org).