The Argaman Iris Reserve is located in Ir Yamin, a neighbourhood in the Mediterranean resort city of Netanya. The reserve is one of only a very few places in Israel where you can see the colourful Coastal Iris, or Iris Atropurpurea. The Irises start to bloom in the middle of January and reach their peak in mid-February. The blooming lasts till the beginning of March.
The Iris takes its name from the Greek word for a rainbow, referring to the wide variety of colours, from red through deep purple to almost black, found among the species. Iris was the rainbow goddess of Greek mythology who used rainbows as a bridge to carry messages from the gods to mankind.
The iris is currently only found in nature reserves such as the Argaman Iris Reserve, as well as at Iris Hill in Ness Ziona, which we visited back in 2014. Populations of the iris can also be found in the Beit Netufa Valley which has 60 species of unique plants in danger of extinction.
People come by the thousands every year to the Argaman Iris Reserve to see the flowers in bloom. The reserve is now confined to 400-600 dunam of land, wedged between two housing projects and the Ir Yamim beachfront. The Netanya Municipality is working hard to preserve and enhance the reserve to ensure the survival of one of the rarest flowers that grow in Israel.
During our short walk we were lucky enough to see hundreds of Coastal Iris. We enjoyed the beautiful flowers, bushes of White Broom, or Rotem Ha Midbar, and gorgeous panoramic views. The reserve is a lovely place to enjoy some nature inside the city and the collection of dark purple irises make it a unique and magnificent habitat.