Posts Tagged 'flickr'

Crithmum maritimum – rock samphire


Crithmum maritimum, originally uploaded by Qurtubas.

My wife and I saw this plant while traveling in Italy, growing happily on vertical slopes close to the Mediterranean Sea. We loved its interesting texture and color. Upon returning home to Berkeley California, I found that Annie’s Annuals had this plant in stock at the moment! We’ve grown it in our garden ever since. I understand from friends on Mallorca that many people pickle the new shoot tips for later addition to salads (I’m still looking for a recipe!).

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The heat of summer


Fontaine et panorama, originally uploaded by ThéoBoy.

We recently had a very serious brief heat wave – after most of the summer being shrouded by our pacific ocean fog. It was a relief to finally have some sunny weather but the intensity of the heat took us by surprise! Very unusual for our area, but it made me recall that many other parts of the mediterranean climate can routinely receive hot dry temps during the summer months.
This warm dry period is actually our dormant season and usually a time we’d like to also be dormant in the garden. ‘Mad dogs and Englishmen’ as they say. It makes a lot of practical sense to plant your garden with species that will not be trying to come into their peak during these difficult months. The lack of water (we get no rain for 6 straight months!) also makes gardeners appreciate this precious commodity. Rather than huge artificial waterfalls and spraying fountains (both of which evaporate far too much water) it is still pleasant to have a quiet bit or water play in the summer garden in mediterranean climate regions, especially if one can easy put a hand into its coolness while passing by.

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The arrival of Naked Ladies (Amaryllis belladonna)


Amaryllis belladonnas, August 2002, originally uploaded to flickr by amarguy.

These pink divas always seem to always arrive earlier than we thought they did in years past – perhaps because they always catch us unaware! And their incongruously candy pink color and sweet fragrance belie their tenacious toughness. Personally, I love how they signal the coming arrival of our mediterranean fall – what seems the start of the gardening year to me, when things ‘come back to life’ after our summer dormant period (the warmest and driest months of the year). Excitement builds as the skies tease at releasing some long awaited rainfall, and many plants seem to know of this impending arrival of a change in weather, starting to put on new buds, leaves, flowers. Fall/winter is certainly our growing season, and many species are rushing to get their seeds produced just in time for the start of the rainy seasons.

It’s all so exciting!

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Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’

Many years ago, I first happened upon Sedum rupestre growing happily in the garden of a bed & breakfast where my wife and I were staying. When I commented on how interesting the arched flower spikes were, the garden owner, who did not know the species name, encourage me to take a few pieces home.

At the time, I was growing Sedum reflexum ‘Blue Spruce’, a cultivar that looks very similar, so I was careful to plant this new introduction some distance from the other. Out of flower they are very hard to tell apart, and both have yellow flowers. It is the flower spikes themselves that makes identity easy (S. reflexum flower spikes are upright from start to finish).

Subsequently, we came to plant this golden form on S. rupestre in the raised planter you see here, topped with a rusty iron grate, the golden-green color making a nice contrast to the dark iron as well as the darker foliage all around. You can see the normal gray form of the species in the foreground. I was pleased to see the flowering this spring – a means to verify that ‘Angelina’ is indeed a cultivar of S. rupestre (it is sometimes listed erroneously as another species).

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Welcome


Ca l’Arqué – Badalona, originally uploaded by rafael pujals.

This blog is a means of sharing thoughts that occur to me while working on various related projects relating to gardening in the world’s various mediterranean climates. I make no guarantee regarding timeliness though I intend to maintain a certain amount of consistency. I welcome your reactions and your own thoughts if they are relevant and constructive to learning more about the opportunities we have in this benign and wonderful climate.


A blog by Seán A. O'Hara

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Flickr Group: mediterranean climate garden