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The Garden of Eilat

The Garden of Eilat
By Gabriel Boyko


“Sea Water Agriculture – Farming the Desert and Feeding the World”

This biography tells the story of the two botanists who achieved world renown with their pioneering work in planting a desert garden in Eilat.

They demonstrated that it is possible to push the desert back and turn it into agricultural land. By using sea and brackish water in sandy and gravelly soils they showed what Israel could achieve in its desert and arid areas. Such effort can be realized in all arid regions around the world.

The conquest of desert areas for food production would mean a major victory in the war against the growing threat of starvation by overpopulation and diminishing water resources.

We follow Hugo and Elisabeth from Vienna, the place of their birth, to Palestine, their promised land, in the mid-thirties. We marvel at efforts to create a fruit orchard outside Jerusalem City on stony, eroded soil, untouched by a plough for centuries. The loss of this magnificent property during Israel’s War of Independence galvanized their energies to build the Garden of Eilat in 1949. They proved the feasibility of pushing the desert back by planting a garden full of trees and flowers, irrigating it with sea and brackish water.


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