The Mediterranean Garden.

Three years ago I made my secret garden surrounded by a trellis to grow fragrant plants like roses, jasmine, honeysuckle and trachelospermum. At first it didn’t look very secret and everybody asked me what I was going to do with it, which was discouraging as I had already done it.

Now at last it is how I planned it and is a lovely place to sit.

The honeysuckle is Lonicera periclymenum ‘Scentsation’. It smells wonderful. The rose on the arches is ‘Phyllis Bide’ which is a very pretty rambler which smells gorgeous and unlike other ramblers keeps right on blooming.

Last year as I love having a new project I decided to make a Mediterranean garden. There is nothing so much fun in the garden as planning a new area. I thought my secret garden looked a bit lost sitting in the middle of the lawn with nothing to anchor it to the rest of the garden.  So now you walk under the rose arch into a Mediterranean garden.

To my surprise I found a lovely old grape vine at the local supermarket. When I went home and told my lovely Pianist about it he straightaway said ‘Come on, let’s go and get it’. And as it was the only one we jumped in the car and rushed back. After planting it I felt quite Mediterranean.

It’s such a pretty shape and not at all what you expect to find when you go to buy a pint of milk and some potatoes. Now what I needed was a 2000 year-old olive tree. I had to make do with this one; it is quite pretty and didn’t break the bank.

I used willow screening  behind the garden to create a feeling of intimacy. It was a shame to hide the trunks of the silver birches but beyond them is a bonfire and general grot area. In any case I wanted to enclose it. It is very sheltered down here and a real suntrap. I didn’t dig up the turf; I had learnt my lesson after digging up lawns in my front garden and for the winter garden. This time I used a membrane and covered it with gravel.

I had fun choosing the plants. Some of them bloom in late summer so I will show you another time. Looking good right now is a lovely  cistus with large white flowers with a maroon blotch. It is called Cistus x purpureus ‘Alan Fradd’.

Cistus x purpureus ‘Alan Fradd’

Also looking good are the alliums I planted. The white philadelphus on the right is a  nice compact one with double flowers called ‘Snowbelle’

Of course there have to be lavenders. This one is Lavendula stoechas.

Behind it is the gorgeous silky, silvery foliage of Senecio candicans ‘Angel Wings’ I was told that it was a tender perennial when I bought it last year, but it came through the winter very well with just a bit of fleece to protect it.

I also bought a perennial antirrhinum last year which is a bit tender but easy from cuttings. It spent the winter in the greenhouse and now it has been released into the garden it has decided to climb the fence. It is called Antirrhinum ‘Pretty in Pink’

Antirrhinum ‘Pretty in Pink’

Obviously for a Mediterranean garden you need plants that the bees enjoy. As well as the lavenders and alliums they are enjoying the prettiest little calamintha that I have ever seen. It is called Calamintha grandiflora ‘Elfin Purple’.

Calamintha grandiflora ‘Elfin Purple’

You don’t have to enter the Mediterranean through the secret garden there is another path alongside  it.

This is the view looking back towards the secret garden.

Long lists of plants are a bit tedious so I will finish with a few pictures and we can come and have another look later in the summer.


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51 Responses to The Mediterranean Garden.

  1. tonytomeo says:

    The grape vine and olive tree came from a nursery like that? They are so stout!

  2. Sam says:

    The view from a distance of your Mediterranean area is super because you can still see the lovely birches behind. It’s amazing, Chloris! What a wonderful job you’ve done. I can just imagine sitting there with a coffee. And then I’d have to go and make another one and sit in your secret garden to drink that. I wouldn’t get much work done at your place! PS Clever picture labelling…

  3. Anna says:

    Oh how fabulous Chloris and a Mediterranean garden seems so fitting for your neck of the woods. The planting must give much pleasure to bees and butterflies too. I love the area around your olive tree. What is the variegated plant near to those ginormous alliums?

  4. March Picker says:

    You have created such a beautiful space for you and your garden guests, Chloris. Well done!

  5. snowbird says:

    Goodness, your secret garden fair took my breath away, what an amazing difference! Those roses are just beautiful, I would never get out of that garden alone if I took my morning tea there….just loving the Mediterranean garden too, the olive tree and grapevine are just gorgeous! Fancy finding that vine in a supermarket, astonishing! How on earth do you keep up with it all, I can’t even get my borders weeded! Interesting that you put a membrane over the lawn, then added the gravel, does this kill the grass or will it eventually grow through, some weeds are even coming through are new flags…

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Dina. Yes keeping up with it all is a problem specially as I constantly make new areas when I should be looking after what I have. But I have never gone for the sensible option; if I had I wouldn’t be where I am today. But I have made one concession to increasing age and that is my use of weed membrane. Yes, it does work. The grass dies off under it. The only place it didn’t work so well was the area round my sundial and that was my fault because I used the wrong sort of rake for the gravel and made little holes that the bindweed found.

  6. snowbird says:

    Our new flags….lol…xxx

  7. janesmudgeegarden says:

    I so enjoyed reading how you did all this, Chloris and the new garden is wonderful in the way it curves around the secret garden and entices the viewer to want to enter. That eryngium is very healthy: I haven’t had a lot of success with them, despite the climate being quite suitable for them. You were so lucky with the grapevine: it looks as though it has been there for decades!

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Jane. I am surprised that you have no success with eryngiums I would have thought that they would love your climate.
      I was thrilled to find this grapevine, it is such a pretty shape and looks very old with its thick trunk. It even had grapes last year.

  8. bittster says:

    Now I wonder what else you’re keeping to yourself. The winter garden barely made an appearance for a full year, the new greenhouse was practically filled before you let anyone in, the secret garden was a very well kept secret…. and now this!
    I love it. It really works well with the secret garden and the willow screen does make it into a very sheltered little suntrap to enjoy a drink here and there. The plants look extremely happy as well.

    • Chloris says:

      Funny you should say that…. in fact I have just finished my latest project which I started in March. All will be revealed later in the summer. If you unveil things too soon they look all raw and unfinished like my secret garden the first year. It is most dispiriting when people say: ‘ ‘What are you going to do here?’ when in your mind it is already mature and looking beautiful.

      • bittster says:

        At least you’re far closer to your vision than I often get. A muddy weed filled hole has been my pond for several years now. Even without outside comments it’s dispiriting enough to look at.

  9. Wonderful, I love the gravel and the willow screening. Angel Wings is my favorite plant, so far..

  10. Eliza Waters says:

    It has been fun watching your garden evolve (has it really been three years?) – you’ve done a beautiful job of it!

    • Chloris says:

      I thought it was 3 years but after reading your comment I checked back through my old posts and you are right it’s only two years. A blog is a great way of keeping a record. It looks so well- established now that I am astonished that it is only 2 years.

  11. krcc says:

    What a garden! I see I need a trellis. Thanks for sharing some of your gardening creativity.

    • Chloris says:

      A trellis is great as you can find somewhere for all the clematis you have wanted but didn’t know where to put. And then I have two different jasmines and a gorgeous trachelospermum, as well as the honeysuckle so the scent is wonderful.

  12. Kris P says:

    It’s wonderful! And it connects beautifully with your Secret Garden. I love gravel surfaces but I’m wary of using them here as the gravel reflects heat and our summers are all too tough on plants as it is. Senecio ‘Angel Wings’ is one of my new favorites but mine is currently in a pot until I assess just how much summer sun exposure it can take. I did a double take when I saw your Symphyandra, initially mistaking it for a South African plant I grow, which has a very similar flower and growth habit, Wahlenbergia ‘Blue Cloud’. I look forward to seeing more of the new garden in future posts.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Kris. Yes, the gravel does reflect heat and that is just what I wanted here. We need to reflect all the heat we can here in Suffolk. It also protects the plants from winter wet. Senecio ‘ Angel Wing’ is a winner, I never thought it would come through the winter unscathed. The symphyandra is a charmer, I love bell shaped flowers. I grew it from seed, it is very easy from seed.

  13. Christina says:

    The Mediterranean garden is a wonderful addition to your garden and your climate will be perfect. I will, of course, be very envious because your drought tolerant plants will all look much healthier than mine do in the Mediterranean! I am always annoyed when I visit Med. gardens in the UK and the plants are so much happier because of course they all appreciate the slightly lower temperatures (we’re already having some days in the 30°C’s. Love the inviting table and chair, just right for an aperitivo; min’s a Negroni, thank you!!

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Christina and I look forward to sharing some time with you in my Mediterranean garden the next time you are in Suffolk. I shall have to stock up on Negroni.

      • Christina says:

        Sadly we’re not likely to spend much time in Suffolk now that my MIL is no longer with us. Perhaps when Richard wants to visit Mindsmere!

      • Chloris says:

        And you might need a visit to Beth Chatto. And have you been to East Ruston in Norfolk? You might need to go there. I do hope you wilĺ still come to Suffolk now and then.

  14. Heyjude says:

    What a gorgeous garden! I am full of envy for your new Mediterranean area and the ‘I can sit here all day reading a book’ Secret garden. I have put cardboard on my lawn where I want to remove the grass, but you simply laid the membrane on it? How deep is your gravel? I have realised that growing Mediterranean plants here in Cornwall is not a good idea as my soil is very moist so although I shall be keeping my gravel area, the planting may have to change.

    • Chloris says:

      I laid the membrane straight on the grass and laid a thin layer of gravel just enough to cover it. The grass died off as it was deprived of light. My niece lives in Cornwall and she grows wonderful succulents, her agaves are enormous. I know your moist soil grows massive slugs which is a problem, but perhaps gravel discourages them.

  15. Peter Herpst says:

    This garden is a perfect anchor for your secret garden. You were very lucky to find such wonderful grape and olive plants to anchor the space. Senecio candicans ‘Angel Wings’ is a wonderful plant and mine came through the winter sitting in it’s nursery pot above ground. Perhaps keeping it dry in the winter is the key to success or maybe it’s just hardier than we think.

  16. mrsdaffodil says:

    What a great hideaway. Well done! I had to smile at the photo of your Cistus with fallen flowers in a puddle at its feet. I have one exactly like it.😊

  17. I thought I detected a slight Italian accent! Both your Secret and Mediterranean gardens look delightful. I would love to sit in your Secret Garden with a book for an afternoon. You are certainly right that there are few things more fun than planning a new garden. Might I suggest a couple of plants if you are still looking? One is Calamintha nepetoides. Another is Callirhoe involucrata, also known as Wine Cups, which seems appropriate.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Jason, I have several calaminthas but the Wine Cups is new to me. I looked it up and I love it, I shall certainly see if I can find.

  18. Ali says:

    These are beautiful, Chloris. I couldn’t agree more -there is nothing so exciting as designing a new garden space! You have chosen some really interesting plants. I think your secret garden and Mediterranean gardens are very inviting!

  19. Oh my goodness! Everything about this is perfect. The secret garden and the Mediterranean garden look fabulous, and you’ve selected great plants to make them work. One of the gardens we visited during the Garden Bloggers’ Fling in Austin employed a similar technique, creating garden “rooms.” I love it!

  20. I love the tone of your writing – it’s friendly to read. I suppose you have a new project! Looking forward to seeing more pics of your garden

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you, and thanks for visiting my blog. Yes, I always have a new project either in my mind or on the go. I finished my latest one recently and I will show pictures in August.

  21. Cathy says:

    It is a lovely area you have created there and the planning and creating itself was no doubt very pleasurable. This must be a lovely sheltered spot if your tender plants have survived it. The olive tree alone is a fabulous addition to the garden. 🙂

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Cathy. Yes, this is a very sheltered spot as the garden down here is surrounded by trees. It is very private too so you sit here and feel that you are in your own little world.

  22. rusty duck says:

    Absolutely superb, I love it! The colour in that Calamintha is so intense. But has it really been three years since the Secret Garden, really? Where the heck does time go.

    • Chloris says:

      In fact somebody else thought it couldn’t be three years and I checked and it is only two years after all. Everything has grown up amazingly quickly.

  23. Cathy says:

    You have such a good eye for design as well as for plants, Chloris – to superb effect, as always. My projects are always a hotch potch compared to yours! Hopefully we will be able to revisit you one day and see all these amazing changes you have made 😀

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