There is a characteristic look to a Mediterranean theme; Italian hillside scenes with tall, pencil-shaped conifers, sparse rocky terrain peppered with wispy grasses. Aromatic, silver-leaved foliage spilling over gravel scree pathways and tactile terracotta containers making stand-out focal points.
Achieving a Mediterranean look in your own garden is relatively easy, even if your soil is not favourable. You don’t have to fill a border with Mediterranean plants evoke warm sunny days and memories of relaxing holidays. A selection of choice plants, carefully positioned, can be just as effective.
The key to successful growing is drainage. Mediterranean plants absolutely hate sitting with their roots in cold wet soil. You can improve the drainage of existing beds by incorporating stones and gravel, and by using a gravel mulch to take surface water away from the crowns of plants. Gravel is also useful for deterring weeds and can limit water evaporation from the soil.
Container gardening is an excellent way to grow Mediterranean plants in your garden. Once established, many are practically drought tolerant, making them ideal container specimens. Terracotta urns can provide winter interest and structure, however they can also be used to grow tender plants that need to be moved inside over winter. The larger the pot the better, and again, drainage is key.
It is vital to remember when you are planting up a container that you are providing a complete environment for a plant, so you need to be mindful of a few factors: ensure adequate drainage, grow in a suitable medium and keep an eye on watering.
It is possible to get a Mediterranean feel in your garden even though our climates differ. Clever use of planting and Mediterranean type plants, combined with sympathetic features can all emulate the theme. So, what are you waiting for? Get the ‘Mediterranean’ look.
RHS Advice: Grow you own Mediterranean herbs in pots
RHS Advice: Other methods for improving garden drainage
RHS Advice: Overwintering plants in conservatories