The Memorial Gardens cover an area of seven hectares, at an altitude of 130 m, and include 200 plant species belonging to 163 genera and 76 families (not including seasonal annual plants and species of herbaceous wild plants).
Most of the area of the Memorial Gardens is devoted to ornamental plants from around the world that grow in the different well-kept flower beds. However, since the gardens’ establishment, natural, wild Israeli vegetation has also grown in them, without any irrigation or special treatment. The areas of natural vegetation together comprise about one third of the area of the Memorial Gardens (about two hectares). They include mainly wild trees and herbaceous plants typical of the Ramat Hanadiv region. A few of them, such as the Persian cyclamen, poppy anemone and hyacinth squill, adorn the gardens with beautiful carpets of flowers in the winter. Other species such as white micromeria, fringed rue, za’atar and conehead thyme, used as herbs and tea, grow together with ornamental plants in the fragrance garden.
Various well-kept spots integrate attractive wild plants such as the Judas tree, Syrian maple, oriental plane, Mount Tabor oak, Mt Atlas mastic tree and carob tree. In total, 56 species of wild Israeli plants grow in the gardens. Their integration in the gardens contributes to conservation of these wild plants and supports insects, birds and other animals that feed on them. Photo: Yadid Levy 23 Similarly, the Memorial Gardens house a special project to conserve nine spectacular species of wild Oncocyclus irises, all of them ‘red’ species in danger of extinction in Israel. In order to conserve all of these iris species we established a special garden for them that serves as an example of ex situ conservation outside of their natural habitats. The aims of this garden are to act as a backup for the iris populations growing in the wild, in case they are harmed, and to familiarise visitors to the garden with these spectacular wild plants and other species of Oncocyclus irises originating in Israel’s neighbouring countries. In addition we published a book, Secrets of Irises, which includes information on these iris species in Hebrew and English.