Mediterranean Plants and Design Ideas for the Australian Garden
Mediterranean style gardens and plants are popular in many areas of Southern Australia due to the easy care nature and low water requirements of many species. So what are we actually trying to capture with a garden design and style of gardening borrowed from Greece, Italy, Turkey and Spain ? Firstly it’s a group of plants that suit our climate in Southern Australia, wet winters, hot dry summers, garden plants that cope in these conditions.
We are also after the style of garden, the courtyard, a garden that is for plants as well as an extension of our living area with outdoor or ‘al fresco’ dining and cooking an integral part of the garden. Shade is an important element, plants including grape vines that grow over a pergola, or maybe large umbrellas, in Australia we can use a large verandah that connects the plants in the garden with an outside living area and the indoors.
Any plant list for a Mediterranean style garden would include Trees such as Olive Trees, Lemon and Orange Trees, Grape vines.
Popular plants include :
- Herbs especially Rosemary and Lavender,
- Pencil Pines
Others to be considered include Pomegranates, they fit in well and are underused in Australia. Also consider plants such as hardy Geraniums, Cistus (rock rose) and of course Bay Trees.
However the truth is that true mediterranean style gardens are not courtyards full of agaves around a swimming pool, thats for the rich, and for hotels in the South of France, its a style that works as a theme, but not true to the region.
The True Mediterranean Garden
Plants for a mediterranean style garden actually include productive plants as well as foliage and flowering plants, I recall spending a few weeks in a small Pensione in southern Turkey, the breakfast room opened onto the walled garden which was full of tomato’s, olive trees, herbs, roses and grape vines, an outdoor oven and table, probably one of the best gardens I have been to. If we look at the gardens that Greek and Italian immigrants have developed in Southern Australia we may get a better idea of what a functional mediterranean style garden is.
Mediterranean Garden Plants can be found for sale at the following nurseries
395 Lesters Rd Ascot VIC 3364 - phone (03) 53434303
Specialising in beautiful perennials & bulbs including new releases from Europe & USA. Many hardy, rare & difficult to find ‘drought hardy’ plants, quality vegetable & flower seeds.
P O Box 398 Creswick Vic 3363
Retail & Mail Order Specialist Growers of Heritage Roses, Unusual Perennials, Tree & Herbaceous Peonies. Mail order and Nursery Sales.