November in Mani, Greece

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Alisdair

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November in Mani, Greece
« on: December 03, 2011, 05:28:57 PM »
We are just back in UK after nearly 3 weeks of gardening in the south of Greece, on the west coast of the "green" or outer Mani – the middle one of the three peninsulas at the bottom of the Peloponnese. It was very dry there. It had been cool and wet in May and early June, then mainly dry apart from one or two downpours in August. Though November is usually a wet, green month there, the last 50 or 60 days have had virtually no rain. So in our garden colour was mainly restricted to the relatively small part of the garden near the house, which has automatic irrigation.
The first picture shows the orange Salustiana, a very sweet mid-season variety not yet quite ripe, sheltered from sea winds by a hibiscus which was unnamed when we got it but I think may be White Wings – in more normal seasons its flowers are red-eyed white rather than this undistinguished pink. Among other plants is a russellia at the bottom right, and a Valencia orange on the right which won't ripen until the new year.
The second picture is of our Tahiti or Bearss lime, very happy in this sheltered corner by a big stone water tank, and ripening literally hundreds of fruits while we were there. Above it, just showing, is a Malta Blood Orange on the left (perhaps the best-flavoured of all oranges), which will not gain its blood colour or ripen until well into the new year, and a mandarin on the right which is nearly ripe. In front of it is a Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, and on the left a banksian rose (now hardly watered in summer) which will be covered in flowers in the new year.
The third picture shows a completely unwatered area by the house which has a few succulents and cactuses, including most visibly here a Euphorbia milii var. splendens and on the right a Beaucarnea (syn. Nolina) recurvata.
The fourth picture is one of a small group of dwarf pomegranates, less than knee-high, sheltering a self-sown freesia which will probably flower in January if not weeded out first. The leaves of these dwarf pomegranates do not change colour for us in autumn, and not all fall in winter...
... Unlike the leaves of our single full-size pomegranate, the only thing that approaches autumn colour for us (bottom picture). On its left is a kumquat, whose fruits will colour in a few weeks' time.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2011, 05:38:24 PM by Alisdair »
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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Alisdair

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Re: November in Mani, Greece
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2011, 05:38:03 PM »
On a few steep terraces above the house a handful of neglected olives share their space with native sub-shrubs and wild flowers (including a few introduced by us). By the time of our visit most of the Cyclamen graecum, looking very parched, had finished flowering, and there were no colchicums still in flower. The last Narcissus obsoletus (syn. serotinus) were finishing flowering in our first week, as were the very last few Prospero autumnalis, which normally cover the ground in November. One or two Crocus niveus (first picture) showed their faces after our one brief rain shower, as did some of the locally abundant Crocus boryi (second picture). In the most sheltered spots a few Cyclamen hederifolium were in flower but not yet in leaf, like this one in the last picture, co-habiting with the local endemic Lithodora zahnii, which will flower from January through March.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2011, 01:38:06 PM by Alisdair »
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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Alisdair

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Re: November in Mani, Greece
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2011, 05:44:28 PM »
Our main area, still less than 3,000 square metres, is below the house, where we are trying to keep a sort of "managed wilderness". We have put a wall round it and threaded paths through it, but otherwise largely left the native phrygana, mainly lentisks, terebinths, wild olives (we have grafted edible olives on to just a few), Phillyrea latifolia, Salvia frutescens, Ptilostemon chamaepeuce, cistuses, and the typical sub-shrubs, bulbs and annuals of the area. We do clip the shrubs much as grazing animals might do. The top picture gives the general idea.
Each autumn amongst the natives we plant out a hundred or so plants, mainly shrubs and trees, which we have raised from seed or cuttings in the UK. They have a monthly deep watering in their first summer and are then left to survive – or not. We also plant Mediterranean and South African bulbs that we have raised from seed. Usually at this time of year there is a fair amount in flower, but this dry autumn we found only a few crocuses, including the purple and the white forms of Crocus cartwrightianus (2nd and 3rd pictures), quite a few Allium callimischon poking through the sub-shrubs (4th picture), and rosemaries starting to flower. The top one is Boule, beginning to sprawl down a wall; next is Punta di Cannelle, which we hope will also eventually do the wall-covering trick – at the moment it's heading determinedly away from the wall below it. The last two pictures are both Prostrata Group, covered in flowers at the moment and adored by the bees. The second of these Prostratas, with a stronger-than-usual rosemary smell, rather bolder leaves, and slightly darker flowers, is grown from a cutting taken from a plant given to us by Sally Razelou, which in turn was raised from a cutting from a venerable plant originally planted at the MGS garden in Attica by Jaqueline Tyrwhitt herself.
Incidentally so far we have found rosemaries the best survivors.
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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Alisdair

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Re: November in Mani, Greece - forgot the Allium picture!
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2011, 06:16:34 PM »
Sorry, I forgot to put in the picture of Allium callimischon - here it is:
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

Umbrian

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Re: November in Mani, Greece
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2011, 07:36:45 AM »
Lovely to read the report of your garden in the Mani and to see the wonderful progress you have made in the "wild area" below the house. I remember it well from our visit several years ago and it has certailnly undergone a transformation no doubt due to lots of hard work. Retaining a natural look whilst curbing less desirable things is perhaps one of the most difficult things to do. Only being on unpredictable "dial-up" connection here it took me 3 attempts to accesss all the photos but it was well worth the time.  :)
MGS member living and gardening in Umbria, Italy for past 19 years. Recently moved from my original house and now planning and planting a new small garden.

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Alisdair

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Re: November in Mani, Greece
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2011, 08:28:03 AM »
Thanks for being so encouraging, Carole! Makes the work seem really worthwhile, though of course Helena and I love doing it.
And many thanks too to Melvyn, for spotting that I'd put a wrong picture in - now corrected (C. niveus, not C. goulimyi - in fact the fairly local goulimyi we'd introduced to the garden had all finished flowering except for one late-flowering self-sown seedling which really wasn't worth picturing).
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

pamela

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Re: November in Mani, Greece
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2011, 10:43:08 AM »
Oh, what a glorious mediterranean garden you and Helena have...so natural and unpretentious.
Quite lovely!.... how can you simply bear being away from it all!!
What is the name of the small town peeping above the Hibiscus ?
Jávea, Costa Blanca, Spain
Min temp 5c max temp 38c  Rainfall 550 mm 

"Who passes by sees the leaves;
 Who asks, sees the roots."
     - Charcoal Seller, Madagascar

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Alisdair

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Re: November in Mani, Greece
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2011, 12:31:08 PM »
That's seaside Stoupa, Pamela - full of tourists in summer, but completely empty now as all the people who do the summer work are out harvesting their olives, absolutely excellent this year, with terrific taste for the oil and acidity down to 0.15%.
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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MikeHardman

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Re: November in Mani, Greece
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2011, 05:03:16 PM »
Very nice, and interesting, Alisdair.
I'm especially envious of that gorgeous Crocus niveus.

Re prostrate rosemary: I noticed today some seedlings in the gravel below a neighbour's one. I wonder if any of them will show a prostrate tendency...
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

Sandra

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Re: November in Mani, Greece
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2011, 12:43:56 PM »
Alisdair

I really enjoyed reading about your garden in the Mani as we too have a garden there, albeit somewhat smaller and possibly a little more exposed - we're above Stoupa. We seem to have had more colour in the garden this Autumn and have enjoyed an abundance of cyclamen and crocuses (photos one and two - can anyone tell me what varieties they are?), but then our irrigation system 'failed' in August and we had a continuous supply of water 24/7 for most of August and September whilst we were away. So much for water wise gardening!

Our garden is divided roughly into four areas. Rising up behind the house (photo three) we have a managed 'natural' area that includes olives, wild almonds, Arbutus, Rhamnus, Cersis, Cotinus, Cistus and Salvias. All the Cistus and Salvias have been grown from cuttings. Last year I planted grapevines along some of the boundaries and was delighted to discover our first bunch of grapes this Autumn (photo four). Around the house there are more formal and quite cultivated terraces - to one side the terraces are ornamental where I grow quite a lot of roses (photos five - Rosa Mutabilis grown from cutting from England) and to the other side a mixture of vegetables, fruit trees and flowering plants - our 'orchard'. Down in front of the house we're gradually taming the land, have plants some nut trees and are slowly introducing the sort of plants you find growing naturally along the roadsides - our 'roadside border'. We actively encourage wild flowers to thrive throughout the garden by selective weeding in the Autumn and Spring (photos six and seven).


Sandra Panting
I garden in the Southern Peloponnese, Greece and will soon be creating a small garden in Northampton, England.  I'm co-head of the MGS Peloponnese group and a member of the RHS.

Sandra

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Re: November in Mani, Greece
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2011, 12:45:42 PM »
I did try to upload several other photos - I'm not sure what happened to them! I will try again....
Sandra Panting
I garden in the Southern Peloponnese, Greece and will soon be creating a small garden in Northampton, England.  I'm co-head of the MGS Peloponnese group and a member of the RHS.

Sandra

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Re: November in Mani, Greece
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2011, 12:49:38 PM »
the rest of my photos, I hope...


Sandra Panting
I garden in the Southern Peloponnese, Greece and will soon be creating a small garden in Northampton, England.  I'm co-head of the MGS Peloponnese group and a member of the RHS.

Sandra

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Re: November in Mani, Greece
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2011, 12:52:29 PM »
and finally....the remaining photos and one of the Salvia 'Blackcurrant sage' growing up behind the house.
Sandra Panting
I garden in the Southern Peloponnese, Greece and will soon be creating a small garden in Northampton, England.  I'm co-head of the MGS Peloponnese group and a member of the RHS.

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Alisdair

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Re: November in Mani, Greece
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2011, 02:04:48 PM »
Very interesting, and lovely pictures, Sandra; thanks! (I guess some of the pics were spring rather than November?)
You must be very close to us I think, though we're so deeply unsociable that I'm sure we won't have met!
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

Sandra

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Re: November in Mani, Greece
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2011, 03:25:05 PM »
You're right the wild flowers and poppies were taken in the Spring. All the rest were taken late October or November. Shame you're so 'deeply unsociable' as I'd happily show you the garden...
Sandra Panting
I garden in the Southern Peloponnese, Greece and will soon be creating a small garden in Northampton, England.  I'm co-head of the MGS Peloponnese group and a member of the RHS.