We are in July 2016 now, we have been concentrating over the last 2 years building terraces for our Mediterranean garden , James has become an expert in that, while I do the research on plants. I became a member of the MGS Mediterranean Garden Society, which is a brilliant organisation and very helpful in finding, researching and learning more about “A water-wise Approach” for Mediterranean Gardening! Which we to our cost have found out is critical here.
We are trying to create timeless sustainable landscapes that are sympathetic to the natural environment, we use young plants that are compatible with the native climate and soil, requiring little if any, irrigation, but it is a huge challenge. I have learnt, we have learnt- gardening in a Mediterranean climate offers several
restrictions in terms of what will and what won’t survive due to the hot summers, very heavy rainfall at concentrated times of the year and the maritime winds that dry the air and soil. We are taking inspiration from the surrounding landscape and seeing what works– with no input at all from man– this can offer valuable lessons and prove that it is possible to produce a truly sustainable garden inspired by nature. But again, I am writing this with a heavy heart, as it is not easy when the summer is very hot like it is today, 38 degrees C is normal at the moment. My herbs dried on the terrace in the pot…The use of water in gardens is a
tricky subject in the Mediterranean climate. Violent storms at certain times of the year result in rapid run-off streams which have an important effect on the natural landscapes. Montenegro is also an area that is rich in natural springs, from mountain lakes to the rivers that run down to the Mediterranean Sea. Water softens what is otherwise a hard landscape, when one looks up the mountains or drives along the narrow paths, it gives it a calming quality. You only have to have experienced one of the natural grottos with moss covered walls to appreciate the beauty and contrast this can provide. Using water in the garden to recreate this natural quality rather than for irrigation purposes can have magical results, but sadly, we are still in the building phase with our EcoHouse, but we do go to visit water
Despite common perceptions it is possible to have a beautiful garden with no irrigation which gives several advantages, some more obvious than others. Less water means less weeds, and in turn less growth therefore less pruning thus keeping maintenance to a minimum. We can’t use machines as our land is terraced, we could do with a hedge trimmer, but our plants are still young. Over watering? Mediterranean plants don’t like water, but they still need some. Rows of branches, leaves and grapes of our vines just died, too hot and too little water…