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Article: Postcards from Abroad - June

Postcards from Abroad - June

Postcards from Abroad - June

Postcards from Abroad 


While my garden at Bobundara sleeps under its carpet of leaves and frosty mornings, I am Pied Pipering throughout the sunny Mediterranean - leading people through some of the most stunning landscapes and gardens in the Greek Islands and then on bicycle through the south of France to the Mediterranean on the Spanish French border - destination the Basque seaside village of Collioure…..

So much to imbue and be inspired by in this stunning southern European landscape where almost not a drop of rain falls for their entire summer. Plants are selected for their stoicism and hardiness as well as perfume and beauty. So many grey leaved beautiful fragrant plants and even one lavender bush under a blue shuttered window in an abandoned house can have as much appeal as huge labour intensive herbaceous borders! In France particularly, less is most definitely more. They are the masters of understatement and for them, everything is about beauty. Is in their DNA to have beauty utmost in their daily lives. This manifests in so many ways and certainly cycling through little French villages, even the tiniest cottages will have a few lavenders, lilac bushes and a clump or two of herbaceous peonies.

 

While in Greece I was fortunate enough to spend time with one of the most highly regarded landscape designers in the world, Thomas Doxiadis and visit with him some of his landscapes on the tiny a-list island of Antiparos in the Cyclades group of islands. Here he has so cleverly used the indigenous plants in his designs to marry the garden into the surrounding landscape - with denser plantings near the buildings, and lesser density as the garden seamlessly merges into the surrounds - as there is no livestock there are few fences and artificial boundaries and in most cases the sea provides one amazing borrowed landscape at the edge of each garden.  There are precious few trees on this island, so instead of introducing trees which you would think would be paramount for much needed summer shade, he choses to favour wide leafy pergolas from the houses to provide cool dappled shade during the searing summer months.

He has had to educate the owners and their gardeners that the plants they had previously thought of as weeds, as they grew naturally in the landscape, are in fact valued hardy wonderful plants to grow and nurture in their gardens - plants such as flowering thymes, cistus, flowering sages, and the most effective combination of gauras intermingled with grasses - so evocative the effect of the movement in the sea breezes.

Living as I do at the foothills of the Snowy Mountains where snowfalls and frosts are common throughout winter, it is hard to imagine, but these sun loving plants of the Mediterranean are amongst the hardiest and most successful plants I grow in my garden at Bobundara.  They not only survive but thrive in our hot summers and with their origins in the dry Mediterranean, they don’t bat an eye at my nil by mouth water regime, which has been adopted partly from water consciousness but also so I can leave my garden for my travels without having to worry if it will survive without me. Tough love!!!

Trisha x 

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