Garden design solutions: 5 plants to give your garden a 'Mediterranean feel'
For those of us fortunate enough to be enjoying a few days away over the summer, we may find ourselves looking for ways of bringing a little bit of the sunshine home with us. There are, of course, plenty of wonderful holiday locations here in the UK, but with southern Europe being such a popular destination for us Brits, we are often asked to include a few Mediterranean plants in the gardens we design for my customers. Here are five of our favourites:
An attractive and versatile evergreen shrub, Rosmarinus thrives on well-drained soils in full sun. It can cope with being in a large pot or container and has such a lovely fragrance. Bearing delicate small blue flowers from mid-spring to early summer, it is much loved by bees and cooks alike, and is perfect for adding flavour to a wide range of culinary dishes. Our preferred variety is R. ‘Miss Jessop’s Upright’ which is taller than the more commonly seen R. officinalis.
Lavandula originates from the Mediterranean and prefers warm and sunny locations with freely-draining soil. Ideal for a container or planted directly in the ground, Lavandula is generally easy to grow and provides long-lasting flowers. L. angustifolia (English lavender) is hardy and usually easier to maintain, whilst L. stoechas (French lavender) is arguably more attractive, but is often less hardy and shorter-lived.
3. Trachycarpus fortunei (Chusan Palm) (pictured above)
Exotic in appearance, Trachycarpus fortunei is actually native to South Central China but it definitely looks like it belongs on the Mediterranean coast. A large evergreen palm with fan-shaped dark green leaves, it is hardy to temperatures as low as -15° Celcius so can cope with our winters. We have seen T. fortunei growing in large containers, but we think it looks happier planted directly in the ground, ideally in a sunny location sheltered from cold winds.
4. Salvia (Sage)
Although native to a variety of locations around the globe, many Salvia cultivars have their origins in the Mediterranean. S. officianalis (common sage) is perhaps the most widely known Salvia, and its highly fragrant leaves are useful in stuffings, stocks and casseroles. Alternatively, Salvia 'Caradonna' is one of our favourite Salvias for providing colour and interest. It forms generous mounds and boasts long-lasting beautiful violet flowers on tall stiff spikes.
5. Olea europea (Olive)
A superb focal point, Olea europea is a popular choice for a touch of Mediterranean-inspired glamour. With characteristically gnarly trunks and slender silver-grey leaves, they prefer a sheltered sunny location. The UK climate is undoubtedly changing, but we still believe that olives are usually better planted in large containers rather than directly in the soil. They don't like being waterlogged, so use a free-draining soil and find a sunny and sheltered location. Following particularly hot summers it may even be possible to enjoy a modest autumnal harvest of olives.
So, if you are inspired by the plants you see on your travels this summer, why not trying adding a few of these fantastic plants to your garden?
Tythorne Garden Design provides professional fixed-fee garden design solutions for customers in Grantham, Stamford, Newark and surrounding areas. Let's see how we can help you to enjoy your garden more. Call us on 07900 224 239 or 01529 455 355.
Image credit: www.gardenersworld.com