How To Make A Mediterranean Garden
Today I want to give you some ideas and thoughts on how to make a Mediterranean Garden.
If you have ever been on holiday or visited any Mediterranean country you will probably have some enduring memories of their plants, scents and natural design features. I want to help you bring those elements together to create your very own beautiful corner of the Mediterranean in your outdoor space.
What’s more, we can use some drought resistant plants that don’t mind hot conditions, therefore we are working with a Mediterranean gardening water-wise approach.
How To Make A Mediterranean Garden
A Mediterranean Garden style is one that is hot, dry and sunny in the summer months and warm and damp during the winter. Easy maintenance with drought resistant plants, shrubs and trees.
Hard landscaping, such as paved terraces, graveled areas and rock features.
Fountains and pools of water add a cooler element to the space, and also introduce movement and sound.
Plants can be displayed in pots and containers, usually terracotta ones.
Statuary, urns and pots are used as decorative features too.
Greeks and Romans filled terracotta pots with bright flowering plants to add colour to paths and courtyards.
Courtyard gardens are ideal locations to turn into a Mediterranean oasis. The walls provide structure for climbing plants. You could also add a pergola to grow more climbers on, such as grape vines or Ipomoea.
Walls painted white will lighten the area and give the illusion of space.
And to my mind nothing looks more cheerful than a wall with planters on filled with scarlet geraniums such as you see in Spain.
Please remember, take these simple steps to carry out essential garden task before you go on holiday if you are going travelling and please do not to bring home any plants, flowers or seeds from abroad.
Mediterranean Garden Ideas
The main features of your garden should include some or all of the following:
- Antique look pots and containers
- Greek Pithoi
- Graveled areas
- Shade seating area
- Water fountains
- Mediterranean style tiles
Pathways are usually paved, gravel, or tiled, Mediterranean tiles are generally bright blues, greens and aqua and will add an instant summer feel to your space.
Greek Pithoi are a gorgeous choice for decorative features or for implementation as a water feature.
Use terracotta pots and containers for planting, I prefer to find old/antique ones if I can as apposed to new pots. For further information on Greek pithoi click here.
A shady area for seating can be found under pergolas or use planting to create some shade. Some lighting immediately adds atmosphere and a warm glow for those late summer evenings.
Mediterranean Garden Plants
Mediterranean Garden Trees
Olive trees are evergreen and give an instant Mediterranean feel to your garden.
They are perfectly happy outdoors if you have a protected walled garden or live in a southern, warm area. For colder areas it is advisable to grow them in a pot which you can then bring into a cold conservatory or greenhouse over winter.
They require a sunny position in well-drained soil – positioning them against a warm wall is ideal.
Once established they are drought-tolerant, but water regularly in dry spells during the growing season and they will stay healthy and look great. Also, keeping them watered will encourage fruit on them.
Feed each spring with a general fertiliser.
Citrus trees are lovely, evergreen plants with glossy, dark green leaves and they produce scented white flowers.
Some varieties are hardy in most parts of the UK (to -5°C), so, Yes, they make beautiful specimen plants for your conservatory, but they can also be grown in a well drained compost in a sunny, sheltered place outdoors.
It is quite magical to succeed in growing your own citrus fruit. Having them in your garden gives you the feel of those balmy summer holiday evenings, sipping your gin with fresh lemon or lime.
Protect them in winter from frost with fleece or bring them indoors to a cool conservatory or greenhouse.
When watering give them a really good dousing, until water runs freely through the pot, this is far more beneficial than small amounts of water. Feed regularly.
Citrus trees to consider:
- Please note that Kumquat do need to stay indoors as they require higher temperatures for them to produce flowers and fruit. They make the most delicious marmalade.
Other Mediterranean Trees are:
- Trachycarpus fortunie Palm
- Butia Capitata
- Hardy Banana
Oleanders bloom from spring until the end of summer, large clusters of flowers in yellow, white, pink or red. They grow and perform best in full sun, but they will tolerate light shade.
They are also drought tolerant.
They are tough, hardy, versatile shrubs that are suitable for most situations including coastal sites.
Prune in late summer to keep a nice shape, take out any dead or damaged branches.
They don’t require any fertiliser except maybe in their first year if the soil is poor.
Once established they are happy with just some water during extreme dry conditions.
Oleander is one of the most toxic, garden plants in the world. Ingesting any part of it can be deadly. Even smoke from burning oleander can be fatal.
Wear gloves and long sleeves as skin contact with the flowers or leaves can cause a skin irritation.
I wouldn’t recommend this shrub if you have children or pets.
I used to love seeing these hot pink blooms billowing over white-washed walls when I lived on Lanzarote
Bougainvillea produce a vast array of beautiful pink, red or orange sepal like bracts that cover the tiny flowers each year. A Mediterranean style garden ought to include some of these lovely shrubs.
They are drought and salt tolerant, making them a perfect choice for a hot and/or coastal garden.
They ideally should be placed in a sunny sheltered spot in a container on the patio or balcony.
These need winter protection so you need to bring them indoors before any frost.
Enrich garden soil with well-rotted compost and a granular fertiliser.
Use loam-based compost for containers.
Other shrubs to consider are:
Mediterranean Climbing Plants
I remember as a young teenager being on holiday in Tunisia and the memorable fragrance being jasmine. Young boys and girls made garlands from the tiny white flowers to sell to tourists. This perfume has ever since been one of my favourites in a garden.
Jasmine officinale is easy to grow, stems will scramble up walls, trellises or any garden support. It’s pretty white flowers appear from spring and continue right through to early frosts.
Plant in a sheltered, sunny spot. Mine is planted near a window so that I benefit from the fragrance drifting indoors too.
Moist, fertile, well draining soil.
Prune back about two-thirds of growth after flowering, or in early spring after all danger of frost has gone.
Ipomoea or “Morning Glory are vigorous climbers that can be deciduous or evergreen, annual or perennial depending on the variety you choose. They are the easiest grown as an annual climber.
Stems with heart shaped leaves, twist and twine around garden structures and they produce masses of trumpet shaped blooms from pale blues through to deep purple/blue and white.
They prefer a south facing, sunny aspect, with moist but free draining soil.
Other suitable for climbers are:
- Grape vines
Mediterranean Flowering Plants
There are many bright and cheerful flowering perennials and annuals suitable for a Mediterranean garden
Check out my blog on drought resistant plants for some further inspiration.
Plant A Mediterranean Herb Garden
These plants grouped together give a real touch of the Mediterranean, their pungent scents evoke holidays in Cyprus, Italy, Spain, Greece and Turkey.
Wild thyme and oregano are redolent of Greece and Cyprus, while Basil and Lavender scent the air in Italy.
I imagine if you have traveled in the Mediterranean countries, you too will relate to these herbal fragrances.
Of course, they add colour as well, bees and pollinators love them and you can use them in cooking, drinks and for medicinal purposes.
Plant in a sunny, sheltered site in free draining soil with added grit and small stones.
If planting in pots, make sure the pots have plenty of drainage holes.
Put at least an inch of grit or drainage materials in the bottom, then fill with multipurpose compost.
Herbs to Grow
Go For It
So now you’re all set to create your Mediterranean Garden.
I hope I have given you few pointers towards achieving your beautiful Mediterranean garden.
Only you can decide which of the above features and plants you would like to include, most of all have fun, that after all is what gardens and gardening should be about.
It’s your outdoor space, you plant it and use it how you choose, and really if you’re happy with it and it gives you a feel good, relaxed, happy feeling then however you create it is secondary.
Be inspired, the best way to find ideas and designs to follow in your own gardens is to visit those gardens that echo your wishes and desires. Wine and Wisteria Travel has a plethora of superb Mediterranean Gardens in beautiful countries like Italy, Portugal, Sicily and Madeira.
Please share with friends and family and on social media. I am always happy to hear your thoughts and ideas so please pop them in the comments box and I will reply’s soon as possible.
Happy Mediterranean Gardening