Guideline Of Mediterranean Garden Plants
Characteristically, Mediterranean garden plants include drought-tolerant plants that include perennial flowers, herbs and small, compact trees. Though the climate associated with Mediterranean gardens may not conjure up visions of lush greenery and abundance, with the proper plants, your garden will flourish.
List of Mediterranean Garden Plants
Trees and Shrubs – The cypress tree is traditional to the Mediterranean garden. Typically envisioned as a large tree with a wide canopy and twisted trunk, the cypress is available in other, more compact varieties, suitable for residential gardens. If cypress isn’t available or you prefer something smaller and more compact, select a juniper tree for your garden. Citrus trees, such as lemon and orange trees, along with olive trees, are typical to the Mediterranean garden. Complement these with hardy shrubs such as bottlebrush, oleander, jasmine and gardenia bushes.
Flowers – Perennial flowers indigenous to any temperate region work well in the Mediterranean garden. Roses, geraniums, chrysanthemums, hollyhock, yarrow and thistle are just a few of the plants that tolerate the dry summers and wet winters of the Mediterranean climate. Combine vertical growth with shorter, spreading perennials for visual interest. Lamb’s ear, daisy, lily of the valley, phlox and spurge provide horizontal growth as well as a wide variety of color. Create a broad spectrum of color when selecting flowers for your garden with an emphasis on contrast. Every color, from the unobtrusive chartreuse of the lady’s mantle to the brilliant red of bee balm, is welcome in the Mediterranean garden.
Vegetables – The familiar vegetables in the Mediterranean diet––tomatoes, sweet peppers, eggplant and zucchini–– would be right at home in any Mediterranean garden. These vegetables are easy to grow either in containers or in the ground and require little maintenance beyond watering and occasional fertilizing. Lettuces and members of the chicory genus, such as radicchio, endive and escarole, provide the basis for Italian salads.
Fruits – No Mediterranean diet would be complete without a rich array of fruits. Lemon, orange, apricot and fig trees are all common to Mediterranean gardens and backyards; some cultivars are suited to container gardening. Olive trees, the trees most closely associated with the Mediterranean landscape, thrive in coastal regions with frost-free winters. The gnarled trunks and slender green leaves add a picturesque touch to Mediterranean landscapes.
Herbs – The traditional combination of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme is a standard in the Mediterranean garden. Along with these include lavender, oregano, tarragon and marjoram, along with basil, lemon balm and mint. Numerous edible herbs flourish in the dry Mediterranean climate and are featured prominently in regional cooking. Rosemary, lavender and thyme have woody stems and root systems that allow the plants to withstand drought and wind; all three make attractive hedges around other plants in a garden plot or charming container plants. Oregano, basil and mint are well suited to containers and grow quickly in bright sun. These herbs season a variety of Greek, Italian, Provencal and Turkish dishes.
Ornamental Plants – Gardeners may landscape a large area with ornamental grasses and flowering plants and trees rather than focus on a compact plot of edibles. Oleanders, with their fragrant pink flowers and dark green leaves, are small trees or bushes with a romantic appeal (though all parts of the plant are toxic to humans and animals if ingested). Hibiscus bushes feature showy flowers in yellow, red, pink, orange and even blue. Artemisia, including tarragon and wormwood, has feathery, fern-like leaves. Evergreen cypress trees like cupressus sempervirens, sometimes called Italian cypress, have dark fan-shaped needles and a tall, slender shape that exemplifies the Mediterranean landscape.
Mediterranean gardening and garden design is ideal for gardens anywhere in the world which have a Mediterranean style climate of hot, dry summers and fairly frost-free winters. However with careful selection of Mediterranean garden plants or careful attention to drainage it is possible to have a Mediterranean garden almost anywhere.