Sorry New Zealand, it seems I jinxed the weather this summer by planting a little Mediterranean garden corner. Who knew I had such contrary meteorological power?
For the month before the rain came, this sad little north facing corner behind the pool was devoid of life. Even most of the weeds had given up trying to make a go of things. The previous owners had assigned it a Mojave Desert aesthetic, which they’d extended to several of the other borders around the house. Those interested in replicating this style should dump driveway gravel over non breathable soil-mat, and drench the result with weedkiller on a regular basis. A few yukkas are allowed, along with a random fig tree planted about a foot away from the deck! Yes. Really.
In fairness I can see why they found this corner a shoo-in for the desert look. Those rocks face north and on a sunny day heat up to frying temperature. The soil is sandy and doesn’t hold water. It’s a location worthy of a Bear Grylls survival episode.
Eventually I think it could be a nice spot for capsicums and eggplants. In my previous garden they never quite got enough heat for the fruit to ripen before the end of summer. Here I’m hoping those heat storing rocks might steady the night-time temperatures and boost development. First though I need to rebuild the soil with the worms, microbes and organic material that perished during the years of Suffocation by Weed Mat.
In the meantime I wanted some useful, attractive plants able to tolerate the existing conditions. This is what I came up with.
Yes, it is quite underwhelming just now with those titchy little seedling plants. This is a real life, low budget blog not The Block. Use your imagination. I have rosemary and lavender in there, with thyme as a ground-cover. What do you think?
The lavender is ‘Hidcote’ (which I think has the nicest flowers and scent) and the rosemary is an upright variety called ‘Tuscany’. The thyme plants are all cuttings from the various thymes (common, lemon scented, and silver) that are planted in the mini herb and veggie garden which is just out of shot around the corner. Promise to blog about that soon.
They are all plants that like a thin dry soil, but the recent deluge has been nice to give them a chance to get roots established before the anticipated dry summer. I am wondering now though whether I could single-handedly avert this predicted drought by planting more lavender? Farmers willing to contribute to extensive experimental garden centre purchases please sign up in the comments*.
*Look, you’ve got to admit it was worth a try.