The Q&A Archives: Meditteranean Garden style

Question: We have just completed a Spanish Style Home in Bakersfield where the soil is very hard and claylike. We are on a Hill overlooking the city and mountains. Everyone on the block, this is a gated tract, have the usual Palm trees and grass with shrubs that are pruned into shapes like poodles, I HATE THAT !!! I love the fountain grasses the wave in the breeze along with such plants as lavender and mrytle trees and shrubs for color and the beautiful bark in the winter. What other types of plants would go with my home style? My house base color is a soft sagish brown with black wrought iron accents and lots of windows 75 in all. We have a slate tile roof, custom colors of soft green, gray and black. Please help me. I want lots of color and textures.

Answer: I tend to agree - landscapers generally plant things they know will thrive in a particular region, and pruning them neatly seems to be the latest trend - the plants you mention are quite overused.

Palms are one of the most frequently used plant materials in Mediterranean landscape design because their characteristic habits immediately set them apart from other plants. Citrus trees, Olive trees, Jacaranda and Orchid Trees are nice substitutes. A Mediterranean landscape design can also include plants such as Campanula, Carex, Celmisia spectabilis (New Zealand Daisy), Diascia vigilis, Dierama dracomontanum (Angel's Fishing Rod), Eryngium agavifloium (Sea Holly), Euphorbia x martinii (Spurge), Festuca (Elijah Blue), Juniperus scopulorum (Skyrocket), Knipofia (Red Hot Poker), Miscanthus sinensis, Pennisetum, Phormium, Persicaria vaccinifolium, Saponaria ocymoides (Tumbling Ted), Lavendula (lavender) and Stipa arundinacea (Pheasant's Tail Grass). Hope the above suggestions offer some guidance!

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