Who can resist a lovely garden? What better way to rest your eyes than enjoying the colorful blossoming of flowers and the deep green of leaves that have just soaked up the sun? In appreciating a garden, we immediately connect with nature, and doing so, we are often relieved of the some of the stress our day-to-day existence throws our way. We are reminded that the best things in life are not necessarily things. There can so much joy resting on the bud of a tiny flower, just waiting to be shared. Now, if only it were so easy to have a garden.
Actually, it can be–if you’re living in such a sunlight-blessed place like Cyprus. This Eurasian island country in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea is the third-largest island in the Mediterranean. It enjoys a climate in which almost everything grows, from orchids to tulips to tropical fruits to fruits that typically grow in cooler countries. With proper gardening methods, you can have your very own Mediterranean paradise garden blossoming with flowers, fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
However, for novice gardeners, Cyprus gardening can also be a challenge. Having a garden in Cyprus is unlike having one anywhere else in the world. The sun in Cyprus is year round sun. Temperatures are very high in the summer. There is very little rainfall, which often comes between the months of November and March. During winter, there can be frost. In addition, the soil can be red clay or sandy and free draining, and is usually not deep. But for experienced gardeners, this is easy to handle.
Cyprus gardening can range from high maintenance gardens for people who stay for a long time in the island country, or low maintenance ones for people who only travel to Cyprus for a few weeks each year. Very low maintenance gardens can be had with plants that pretty much take care of themselves. In Cyprus, most plants grow ten times faster than they grow in countries like the United Kingdom. For Cyprus gardening, knowledge of Mediterranean planting is essential.
There are many bold, eye-catching architectural plants to look for in Cyprus. One of them is the Phormium tenax, also known as the New Zealand flax, which is a clump forming perennial that grows like a semi-evergreen in the island country. It has upright, long dark green leaves with red flowers shaped like a tube. The Phormium tenax is usually planted more for its foliage effect. It can reach a height of 12 feet.
If you want something smaller, you can also plant the Phormium “Sundowner.” This has beautiful, broad, upright, bronze green leaves with dark rose-pink fringes. It is even more beautiful under the evening sun. Other smaller variations of Phorium tenax include “Bronze Baby,” which has bold bronze leaves and grows only up to two to three feet tall; and “Dazzler,” which has drooping bronze leaves with red, pink and orange stripes.
For bold Mediterranean garden look, you can also plant the Agave Americana “Marginata,” which can grow up to 25 feet in 10 years or so. This plant has rigid, fleshy sharp spines and jagged borders, but the yellow-fringed foliage of this plant is very arresting.
Another plant worth mentioning is the Yucca gloriosa, with narrow lance-shaped green leaves. There is also the cabbage palm, Cordyline australis, with its erect palm-like branches that thin out little by little as the plant grows older.
You can also plant fruit trees, such as citrus varieties, olives, apples, and peaches. For variety, you can include the Juglans regia, or the English Walnut, or the Morus alba, or white mulberry, Another lovely ornamental evergreen tree is the Eriobotrya japonica, also known as Loquat.
With so many plant choices, including pretty perennials, Cyprus gardening can pave your way to having your little Mediterranean paradise.