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Architectural Plants | Exotic Plants | Flowering Plants | Mediterranean Plants

MEDITERRANEAN PLANTS

This group of plants offer an array of colour, texture and scent.They will survive in our driest and hottest summers and can be used in a variety of different ways.For advice on planting a Mediterranean garden please refer to one of the UK's greatest horticulturists - www.bethchatto.co.uk

CALIFORNIAN POPPY

Latin name: Eschscholzia

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Description: A very easy and fast growing annual that will really brighten up your garden. All through the summer months, intense, bright orange, poppy-like flowers with silky petals are carried on slender stems well above the finely divided, blue-green leaves. A glorious display can be had from a packet of seeds sown directly in their flowering position in April, where they will self seed for years to come. Varieties are available in shades ranging from pink to red.

Hardiness: Hardy

Height: 35 x 20cm

Position: Full sun

Soil: Poor, fast-draining soil

Water: Drought tolerant once established

Usage: Excellent planted in drifts amongst other Mediterranean planting

CALIFORNIAN TREE POPPY

Latin name: Romneya coulteri

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Description: Tall plant with absolutely fabulous plant with huge solitary poppy heads (10-15cm across) consisting of six almost round petals overlapping each other around the central golden stamens. The petals unfold crinkled from smooth buds from mid-summer to early autumn from the terminal ends of long stems. The large, light-grey, hand-shaped leaves are a perfect foil to the flowers.

Hardiness: Fairly hardy once established

Height: 2.5 x 2m

Position: Full sun

Soil: Well drained garden soil

Water: Drought tolerant once established

Usage: Best planted somewhere that you can appreciate the showy flowers close up

EUPHORBIA

Latin name: Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii

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Description: There are countless Euphorbia’s though one in particular looks excellent in a hot dry situation – Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii – the name might be a bit of a mouthful but the plant is astounding. It is a handsome perennial that adds drama to a border with its long, narrow, bluish-green leaves, which look fresh even in the hottest weather. In early summer large, dome-shaped, lime-yellow flowers up to 30cm across, tower above the foliage, looking superb against a dark blue sky.

Hardiness: Hardy

Height: 1.5m x 2m

Position: Full sun

Soil: Any well drained garden soil

Water: Drought tolerant

Usage: As part of a border or as a specimen on its own

HOUSELEEK

Latin name: Sempervivum

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Description: These delightful hardy evergreen succulents are grown for their dense mats of fleshy often highly coloured foliage and are more often associated with rock gardens. They will grow in any dryish situation including on your house roof as they need little food. They consist of a whorl of tightly packed succulent leaves and in summer, thin stalks rise above the foliage containing clusters of star-shaped flowers.

Hardiness: Mostly hardy if they don’t get to wet during the winter

Height: 4cm x

Position: Full sun

Soil: Poor, very well drained soils

Water: Drought tolerant once established into colonies

Usage: Rockeries, gravel gardens, well-drained stone troughs, containers and of course roofs

MULLEIN

Latin name: Verbascum

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Description: Beautiful, stately plants for a bright, sunny location. The cultivar ‘Gainsborough’ is the most commonly available and a superb plant that has tall spikes of pale yellow, saucer-shaped flowers bourne in summer high above a rosette of semi-evergreen, greyish-green leaves. There are several delicious Verbascum cultivars available with colours ranging from pinks to soft browns.

Hardiness: Hardy

Height: 1m plus

Position: Full sun

Soil: Well drained sandy, semi-fertile soils

Water: Tolerates dry conditions well, one established

Usage: Being tall and fairly thin in stature Verbascums are great plants for gravel gardens where you can look through to other plants in the distance. They look best planted in irregular groups

ROCK ROSE, SUN ROSE

Latin name: Cistus

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Description: Evergreen shrubs, native to the Mediterranean region that will lighten up any summer garden with their gloriously vibrant flowers and occasionally aromatic foliage. They can be fairly small plants to quite large ones, so there will always be one that fits your garden style. The leaves are oval to lance-shaped from 2.5 to 10cm long. The very showy saucer-shaped, papery flowers are bourn from early to mid-summer, each flower only lasting a day.

Hardiness: Mostly hardy

Height: 60 x 60cm

Position: Full sun

Soil: Very well drained garden soil

Water: Very drought tolerant once established

Usage: Good for covering hot sunny banks where they look stunning in full bloom

ROSEMARY

Latin name: Rosmarinus officinalis

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Description: An absolutely essential Mediterranean shrub, grown for its dense, strongly aromatic, evergreen foliage, and of course as an indispensable herb for cooking. A woody stemmed shrub that has dark green needle-like leaves which are white felted below. Dainty mauve and dark-blue tubular flowers are bourne from mid-spring to early summer then spasmodically throughout the summer.

Hardiness: Hardy to at least -5C

Height: Up to 1.5m

Position: Full sun

Soil: Any well-drained garden soil

Water: Very drought tolerant once established

Usage: As part of a herb garden or mixed with other Mediterranean plants in a gravel garden

SAGE

Latin name: Salvia officinalis

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Description: This deliciously aromatic evergreen sub-shrub is widely cultivated for its ornamental foliage as well as being widely used as a culinary herb. It is a fairly compact shrub with rough, greyish-green, oblong pointed leaves. The flowers are in shades of blue and purple on short spikes intermittently throughout the summer. There are some stunning variegated forms like ‘Tricolor’ with white, deep pink and purple leaves.

Hardiness: hardy

Height: 60cm x 1m

Position: Full sun

Soil: Any well drained garden soil

Water: Drought tolerant

Usage: As part of a herb garden or mixed with other Mediterranean plants in a gravel garden

SEA-HOLLY

Latin name: Eryngium maritimum

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Description: This spiky plant produces a basal rosette from which rise flowering spikes with stiffly spiny foliage and stems. The basal foliage is a very conspicuous pale grey or silvery green, from which the stiff, lightly-branching flowering stems rise up. One of the best species for garden use is Eryngium bourgatii, a perennial with stunning green, prickly foliage marbled with silver. The flowers, which appear in summer, are cobalt blue, and very attractive to bees.

Hardiness: Hardy

Height: 30 to 60cm

Position: Full sun

Soil: Any well drained garden soil

Water: Drought tolerant once established

Usage: Looks excellent planted randomly in a gravel garden and of course with other Mediterranean planting

STONECROP

Latin name: Sedum

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Description: These succulent plants bring pleasing variation in form and colour to the less hospitable parts of the garden where the soil is poor and often parched. For this reason, many of the more prostrate species are used for green roofs on buildings. They range from tiny mat forming species to larger ones like the hybrid S. ‘Autumn Joy’ at around 60cm. Which ever size chosen, they all make excellent Mediterranean garden plants.

Hardiness: Mostly hardy

Height: 5cm to 60c

Position: Full sun

Soil: Fairly poor, well drained soils

Water: Very drought tolerant once established

Usage: Any position that gets hot during the summer months, especially rocky areas and on roofs, where as the larger types work well in mixed borders

THYME

Latin name: Thymus vulgaris

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Description: All Thymes are sun-loving evergreen perennials grown for their aromatic culinary uses and often attractively coloured foliage. Thymus vulgaris, the common thyme (25 x 30cm) is a wiry stemmed shrubby plant with small, very dark green leaves, where as T. caespitius is much more prostrate at 5 x 36cm with bright green leaves. Some have delightful variegated or silver foliage, making them excellent for planting in patchwork drifts

Hardiness: Most thymes are hardy but often need replacing after 3-4 years.

Height: Depends on

Position: Fulll sun

Soil: Any well drained garden soil

Water: Fairly drought tolerant once established

Usage: Thymes look excellent planted between paving slabs, on rock gardens and gravel beds in drifts and of course in herb gardens

TRAILING ICE PLANT

Latin name: Lampranthus

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Description: With warmer winters becoming more prevalent, this fabulous plant will be seen more often in our warmer gardens, giving a truly Mediterranean feel. This gem is a very low growing, spreading perennial succulent, with fleshy, narrowly cylindrical, three sided, bright green leaves which are slightly flushed at the tips. From summer to autumn pink to reddish purple daisy-like flowers are bourne en masse, a really amazing sight to behold, as the colours are very intense. There are many hybrids with colours ranging from intense reds to yellows.

Hardiness: Borderline hardy taking lows of -4C for short periods only

Height: Up to 30cm

Position: Full sun

Soil: Well drained, rocky, sandy soils or raised beds if on clay soils

Water: Very drought tolerant

Usage: Excellent for planting in drifts where it looks superb on hot sunny days

WORMWOOD, MUGWORT

Latin name: Artemisia

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Description: There are many Artemisia’s that make excellent Mediterranean plants and one in particular is very alluring, Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’. It is unique in carrying multi-branched stems of silver filigree foliage, which acts as a superb foil to medium-sized plants. This beauty has evergreen, silver-grey, filigree foliage and forms a dense though soft, bushy mound that looks excellent through the hottest days of summer.

Hardiness: Hardy, though may get a bit straggly during the winter

Height: Height: 90

Position: Full sun

Soil: Well drained soil. On clay soils add extra sand and grit

Water: Fairly drought tolerant once established

Usage: Its frothy silvery form is a great foil for other differently coloured planting

YARROW

Latin name: Achillea filipendulina

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Description: One of the best yellow yarrows for areas that experience hot summers with baking sun and dry soils. This gem has soft ferny green foliage that is toped during the summer months with large flat golden yellow clusters from summer to early autumn. It looks great planted en masse and also makes an excellent flower for drying. ‘Coronation Gold’ has flat heads of deep, rich yellow from June to August.

Hardiness: Hardy

Height: 90-120cm

Position: Full sun

Soil: Any well drained garden soil

Water: Drought tolerant once established

Usage: Redolent of hot summers - they look great planted in drifts where they nod in the slightest breeze

 

 

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