In an authentic Mediterranean garden un-addicted to the drip of artificial watering, autumn is a time of wonder much in the same way as spring is in more northern climes. Here, it is the prolonged intense heat and drought of summer that sends the land into a dormant state, when there it is the winter cold that brings on hibernation. And just as much as people in the cooler countries long for the first snowbells and crocuses and winter aconite to show their pretty little heads in early spring, I crave to see my garden come alive with colour. And each year, when it happens, I can't believe my eyes - it is so beautiful!
The Mediterranean Way #
First, let me explain the concept. A Mediterranean garden is one that respects the natural climate of the zone we are living in (i.e. next to no rainfalls in summer and a mild wet winter season, with the heaviest rainfalls generally occurring in September and February).
In other words, a Mallorcan garden that doesn't try to go all lush and tropical in summer thanks to crazy amounts of water which aficionados like me consider almost as nonsensical a practice as installing underfloor heating in a more northern garden to prevent its plants from withering away in winter.
But for a once-weekly soaking of my many succulents in planters and any new additions of that year, I do not water anything which means I save a lot of money and a lot of time, as my garden is practically maintenance-free in summer. (I am a lazy gardener.) It's all about the choice of plants – they have to be endemic or from similar climate zones or else they'd die.
My Andratx garden sleeps in summer and I let it sleep. The only thing I do before the drought and heat set in is nicely mow the fields among the almond trees and protect both plants and soil with an ample layer of the mulch produced by shredding last year's prunings.
During the dry season, the beauty of my land lies in the way it's sculpted - dry walls setting off the different levels, shrubs of lentiscus, myrtle, and oleaster neatly trimmed in shape, the big round ears of prickly pear cactus contrasting with the long and slender wands of cane, and drought-resistant evergreens in all their different shapes in the planters on the terraces around the house. The colours are subdued, the blond of dried-off grass and grains, the dusty green of olive leaves, the shady hues of hedges.
And Now: The Rains! #
Right on time, the downpour came! In the second half of September, we were granted three days and nights of heavy showers, and they did their magic. It didn't even take a week for nature to awaken. The fields are turning green again! Iris shoots are pushing through in promise of their glorious springtime flowers. Lantana hedges – almost bare of leaves throughout the hotter months – are a show to take your breath away. The rosemary has donned its robe of (almost) royal blue. Everywhere you look you see the greens and flowers bursting through. If, in my entire life, I could pay just one brief visit to the island of Mallorca I would make sure to come in autumn just to see this show!
- Personal experience
- Heidi Gildemeister, Mediterranean Gardening: A Waterwise Approach
- Heidi Gildemeister, Gardening the Mediterranean Way
#MallorcaGarden #MallorcaAutumn #MallorcaRainFlowers #MediterraneanGardening
By Ulla Rahn-Huber
28 October, 2023