Fire, water and the Mediterranean garden

news: Fire, water and the Mediterranean garden


Yet the appeal of the Mediterranean or indigenous garden is vast. Once established, it will live and prosper indefinitely on seasonal rainfall alone. It requires much less maintenance, hence saving labour costs and time, and is also much less costly to establish, although time is needed to allow grasses, flowers, plants and trees to grow.

Practical considerations aside, the Mediterranean garden is endlessly captivating. Each season and each year will produce new and surprising growth, colour and movement, in contrast to the unchanging nature of the lawn/palm tree/myoporum hedge ensemble. Native plant life is forever evolving, growing and shading into a palette of colours and forms, while attracting and sustaining a wide variety of living forms, adding richness, colour and interest to the natural landscape.

Perhaps in a rearguard action in its defence, some have recently argued that the exotic garden provides better protection against fire than the indigenous. The simple answer to this is that common sense should apply in designing and maintaining any garden, such as avoiding high trees close to the home, keeping grassy areas well cut and removing weeds. Also overlooked is that, for some plants, germination can occur only after the passage of fire, a perfectly natural phenomenon, well containable with proper precautions such as fire breaks.

A final thought: just a fraction of the valuable water, fertiliser and man hours consumed each year maintaining lawns and imported flora would produce endless Mediterranean gardens of stunning beauty and authenticity.