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Mediterranean garden

The very essence of Mediterranean garden style not only creates spectacular surroundings with its classical warm colours of pale beige, deep browns, bright yellows, reds, terra cotta, yellowy pinks and bluely greens included within the combination of trees, shrubs, succulents and cacti which can portray any garden style using plants such as the olive tree, pomegranate , lavender, bay tree, rosemary, eucalyptus, citrus and yucca which can be used as herbs in cooking, to inhale the heavenly aromas or to provide shade from the hot sun during the summer.
The Mediterranean can cover several areas of the globe which include Australia, California, coastal areas of Chile, countries that border the Mediterranean sea, Spain, Italy, Greece and the Western Cape of South Africa which have dry high temperatures in summer followed by mild winters usually with strong winds and heavy rain, but in some areas frost can also occur. Other countries which have cooler conditions, can easily imitate this environment using a greenhouse.
One of the most important part of the Mediterranean garden is to create shade from the extreme heat of the sun outdoors during the Summer months, whether for relaxing, dinning or to protect your plants. This can be in the form of a courtyard with tall palms or trees, a patio with a pergola shaded by vines or climbing plants or a structure attached to the house with terra cotta tiles or other material, Shade roll up blinds can also be added at the sides to protect from the wind and sun.
Trees and shrubs can also provide shade but may take a few years to reach a suitable height, also adding colour and fragrance to your garden, these include Hakea also know as pin-cushion, Hakea is a beautiful shrub or five metre tree with exotic flowers pinkish red in the centre with spikes which turn to an orange pink tone over time which attracts honey bees, and with long thin blue green grey leaves. It is native to Western Australia where it is known for its stunning appearance and there are approximately 150 species and also a few hybrids. Robinia pseudoacacia also called the black locust is a hardwood tree that can grow to 12-30 metres in height with highly fragrant graceful clusters of cream white flowers with a splash of yellow in the centre, it produces a high amount of pollen which attracts wildlife and is native to United States but has also adapted and grown naturally in North America, Europe and Southern Africa. Carpenteria californica is a shrub or bush like tree with lovely anemone like flowers which have a sweet fragrance, white in colour with soft yellow in the centre, it is considered rare and is only native to limited areas of California and is a species of the hydrangegeaceae family.

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Boronia heteropylla is an upright shrub native to Western Australia and has striking brightly coloured magenta pink bell shaped flowers each containing four petals and mid green trifolate needle like leaves. This shrub is also called red boronia and can grow to about one to three metres in height ,both the leaves and flowers are fragrant, an excellent plant for adding colour to your surroundings. Genista aetnensis is a charming bright yellow flowering tree or shrub that is native to Sicily and Sardinia, the flowers resemble a pea in shape and are fragrant similar to a jasmine scent. It can be grown as a shrub but over time can grow into a tree up to 8 metres in height.
Syringa pubesceans – an attractive shrub with stunning fragrant tubular lilac flowers and ovate leaves, it attracts bees and butterflies and can also be used for hedging or borders.
Callistermon has striking bottle brush like flowers in various colours, although the most usual is bright red, with long thin leaves. This shrub is native to Australia and Tasmania, the plants name Callistermon is derived from Greek meaning ‘ beautiful stamens’.
Anisodontea also called the rough leaf African mallow is a woody shrub with light to bright pink showy flowers which resemble a hibiscus and grows to about two to three metres, the three lobed leaves are scented and is native to South Africa, this species is of the Malvaceae (mallow) family.
Freylinia lanceolata has attractive and colourful orangey yellow long bell like flowers which are fragrant and smells similar to that of honey, it blooms all year while attracting bees, insects and birds.
Hebe is a bushy shrub native to New Zealand, some types have decorative leaves in various colours of greens and white which has clusters of reddish purple flowers. The name of this plant ‘Hebe” is also a name of the goddess of Youth from Greek myth, who could restore mortal beings back to their youth to which this plant is named after her.

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Climbers and vines are also excellent way for creating shade which can be grown in a container or in the soil to cover a pergola, archway, wall or fencing. The most usual vine in the Mediterranean is most certainly the grape vine Vitis and there are many varieties to choose from so you can enjoy the delicious fresh grapes in Autumn, make wine or raisins/sultanas. Passiflora is a lovely vine with tendrils and flowers with up to 9 petals and long thin wavy corona filaments, there are many varieties which range in colour from pale – dark purple, blue and pink-red which attracts honey bees, carpenter bees, butterflies and humming birds. The passion fruit of Passiflora edulis can also be eaten and added to yogurt and with other fruit. Clematis cirrhosa has beautiful elegant bell shaped flowers, creamy white in colour with pale green in the centre, sometimes with dark splotches.
Thunbergia gregorii has showy and very bright orange flowers also called the trumpet vine, it is an evergreen vine native to Africa which is similar to the black eyed Susan vine. Ipomoea purpurea also know as the morning glory has striking bright purple trumpet shaped flowers in Summer with large heart shaped leaves. Solandra maxima is a lovely woody vine with large white, yellow to toffee coloured cup shaped flowers with dark lines which are scented at night. It is native to Mexico and central America but some parts of this plant is poisonous. The strong sweetly scented white flowers of Jasmine officinale or common jasmine is another amazing vine for providing shade, it is a delicate plant which can grow to four to nine metres in full sun.
Palms,Succulents and cacti plants with sculptural, geometric shapes and colourful flowers are great in dry arid conditions, such as Kalanchchole luciae, paddle plant that has impressive rounded leaves with bright colours, yellowy green outlined with red which form a rosette and is popular in California. The flowers are also scented and deep yellow in colour which bloom in spring from its second year of growth on long flower stalks. Cereus a cactus with unusual sculptural shapes, Phoenix canariensis a date palm from the Canary islands, its trunk grows up to 30 ft. Chamaerops also called Mediterranean dwarf palm, a hardy plant that can withstand short cold periods. Cycas revoluta a slow growing palm native to Japan and Washingtonia robusta a tall palm tree also known as the Mexican fan palm.

Succulent pelargoniums

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The pelargonium succulent varieties have a special charm of their own because of their simple geometric and sculptural shapes that succulents possess,even when they need more specialist care and dry and desert like conditions with bright sunlight they are still amazing plants to collect.
In cultivation they are usually grown in a green house and can be kept in containers using a commercial compost suitable for cacti types, but because of their hot & dry conditions they need to be kept well drained.
Most pelargonium succulents are known as Xerophyte, a type of succulent that can survive in hot dry conditions with little water which it stores in its thick fleshy trunk,stems or leaves that is called succulence. Some types lose their leaves in Summer when in dry conditions and become dormant, but when the Winter rains begin it starts to come back to life again and new leaves develop.
P. cortusifolium is native to Western Namiba, North Western South Africa and is Summer dormant.
It has long thick stems with heart shaped leaves and flowers that have white upper petals and pink lower petals.
P. desertorum is an aromatic shrub let with succulent stems,toothed leaves and white elegant flowers with pink in the center.
P. carnosum is native to Namibia, South Africa and has whitish thick fleshy stems when mature, the leaves are feathery in appearance and has white flowers.
P. klinghardtense is native to South western Namibia, North Western South Africa, it has thick succulent stems that can grow to 3 cms or more when mature, the flowers are white and are similar to an orchid flower in appearance.
P. crassicaule is native to Namaqualand South Africa and is a succulent shrub let with short thick dark brown stems that grows to 4 cms when mature, the leaves are wavy and silvery green, the flowers are pale dark pink.
P. cirthmifolium is native to Southern Namiba, North Western South Africa and is one of the most heavily built pelargoniums with thick and fleshy greeny yellow succulent stems that grow to 3 cms across, it is also slow growing and takes 5 years to grow to 1 meter, the flowers are white to pale pink and the small divided leaflet leaves create a ginger and nutmeg scent when crushed, it is also summer deciduous.