Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mediterranean style

This year, I am creating a potted garden on our south-facing deck. My previous experience with container gardening, and the copious amounts of water it can require, has led me to seek out drought-resistant plants. These days, no one can ignore basic sustainable design as water has become an increasingly scarce resource. Luckily, my favorite natural landscape in the world, the Mediterranean, can give me some direction. This area of the world receives little rainfall so most of the plants from this region do not require a lot of irrigation. Areas of the United States, like California, share many of these species. However, even colder areas can utilize some of this plant palette. My hometown, Boston, is hardly a warm climate but it is in Zone 7. Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) can tolerate a Zone 7 climate. There is a cultivar named "Tiny Tower" that is perfect for small urban gardens. French lavender (Lavandula stoeches) can also live in Zone 7 (although English lavender is a bit hardier.) Colder climates down to Zone 4 can use Lambs Ears (Stachys byzantina.) Of course, commom herbs like rosemary and thyme are perfectly easy to include as well. There are some plants that will not survive our Boston winter and will need to be brought indoors. So when it gets colder, I can bring some of the Mediterranean into my home with small potted Meyer lemon and Kumquat trees.
(Photographs taken in Kas, Fethiye and Bodrum in Turkey.)

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