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The Iris Garden

In the heart of the Memorial Gardens, between the Palm Garden and the Rose Garden, lies a partly hidden, but rather unique garden: this is the Iris Garden, which is being upgraded to a garden that demonstrates gardening with local wild plants.

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Our visitors are invited to come and enjoy a beautiful display by plants boasting spectacularly coloured large flowers (that bloom from mid-February to late March). These are the Oncocyclus irises, a group of plants in the Iris genus, with some of the most beautiful, impressive flowers in the world, which has known representatives growing in Israel, including the Gilboa iris (Iris haynei), the dark purple (coastal) iris (Iris atropurpurea), the Nazareth iris (iris bismarckiana) and more.

The Iris Garden at Ramat Hanadiv is the result of many years of research and knowledge. The late David Shahak, who specialised in growing and propagating irises, was responsible for establishing the collection and growing the plants. The garden includes a collection of Oncocyclus irises and allows the public to become familiar with this unique group of plants and the efforts invested in its conservation.

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The garden was established in 2010 in collaboration with Israel Nature and Parks Authority. About 22 local species and populations from disturbed landscapes throughout the country were planted here. These plants are not easy to grow; the flowering garden is the result of scientific research combined with gardening work conducted by the staff of Ramat Hanadiv.

These spectacular irises flower over a short period of time during the spring months. To preserve the beauty of the garden throughout the rest of the year, about 35 additional species of wild plants growing in the Nature Park and the local environment were sown and planted alongside them (during 2023–2024). These species include the Hyacinth squill (Scilla hyacinthoides), narbonne star-of-Bethlehem (Ornithogalum narbonense), Italian gladiolus (Gladiolus italicus), bunch-flowered daffodil (Narcissus tazetta), small-flowered Pancratium (Vagaria parviflora), cornflower (Centaurea cyanoides), king’s spear (Asphodeline lutea), wild pink (Dianthus strictus), a few local sage species and more.

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Alongside the herbaceous species that were planted in the garden, dwarf-shrubs such as summer savory (Satureja thymbra), Mediterranean wild thyme (Coridothymus capitatus) and Syrian oregano (Origanum syriacum), were planted to give the entire garden the look of a half-open Mediterranean batha, the typical vegetation formation in the landscapes where these irises grow in nature.

The species planted in the garden have different life forms (geophytes, shrubs, annuals, and so on) and flower at different times of the year, demonstrating how it is possible to maintain a garden based on local wild plants that remains eye-catching during nearly all months of the year. The project is supervised by the agronomist, Dafna Helbitz.

At the northern end of the garden, a bench was installed in memory of Iris Goldsmith (nee Rothschild) who passed away prematurely in 2019.

Of further interest...

Accessibility

An accessible trail through the Nature Park

In the Nature Park at Ramat Hanadiv there are a number of spectacular hiking routes.

For further information >>

נגישות בשטח

An accessible trail through the Nature Park

In the Nature Park at Ramat Hanadiv there are a number of spectacular hiking routes.

For further information >>

Dining Here

Dining-Kiosk

Refresh yourself at the Kiosk with a drink or snack. The kiosk is open daily.

For further information >>