Mediterranean Gardening

When we came down to live here, we brought with us visions of an exotic and tropical garden. Finally freed from the ever threatening frosts, our new garden was to be no less than a jungle, with lush foliage and abundant flowers in all colours everywhere, and fruit trees of course, oranges and bananas.

So we started gardening. We conquered the bare earth bit by bit, watered every day, pulled weeds, planted our much dreamed off bananas and tangerines, a lime-quat, cannas, fuchsias, palm trees, the works. Never took a moment's rest, never once stood back and enjoyed our work in progress.

Then the annual account from the water company arrived, and the reality sank in. Mind you, we had only converted a few square metres of land into garden, and already the bill was beyond imagination. Apart from the money, which may or may not be on object, water is a scarce commodity in southern Spain.

So we tried a different approach. A waterwise, drought-tolerant approach. Now, when we say drought-tolerant, you most likely think cactus. And you're right. But a waterwise garden is not limited to the well-known and perhaps over-used succulents.

Follow a few basic rules and select the right plants and planting sites, and you may be astounded by the results. We've even compiled a section on coastal gardens, which have their own requirements due to the salt sprays and winds.