Gardening in Mediterranean type climates - new book

Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2003 11:09 am
A friend who is very knowledgeable about planting design has sent me this

Heidi Gildemeister's landmark Mediterranean Gardening has been re-issued by UC Press. The 2002 California edition has indications in its plant lists of which species are invasive in California. This is undoubtedly the best book on gardening in Mediterranean areas that has been published. Formerly available only through a European publisher, it's now readily available in the US. Heidi has a wonderful garden on Madeira, and has personally grown all the plants in her book, so she knows what she's talking about. She's a very knowledgeable gardener--what, you don't make calls to Madeira?--and a great personality, which comes through in the text. Only $24.95. Vroman's in Pasadena carries it.

UC Press
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Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2003 12:32 pm
Or you could ask me!! NO DON'T! It's hard going in hard-scrabble places. Your description threw me for a moment because of course Madeira is an Atlantic island, right out there, windy and salty... But I see your focus is design...

Another useful (for me, even in Texas) book has been "Flowers of South-West Europe: A Field Guide" by Polunin and Smythies, Oxford Press paperback. It is very helpful in figuring out the details of the varied terrain of SW Europe -- i.e. Spain and Portugal. Many of the species and their settings are similar to what one finds here.

(I'm a purist, very wary of importing even "non-invasive" species, even those from one of the other seven regions of Texas...)
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Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2003 03:00 pm
I'm a purist sometimes, and sometimes not.

For example, in the Los Angeles basin, NO TREES were native...it was all coastal scrub. Yes, California live oaks and California sycamores are native to california, but not right there.

All sorts of places seem to fit under the gerneralized mediterranean umbrella....

When I get off my duff, I'll add both of these books, the one you mentioned and the Mediterranean Gardening, to the Helpful Links list.
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Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2003 04:36 pm
I realize that I know nothing of what would be considered Mediterranean landscape design! Any photos online?

Of course most of the Plains were treeless, and now we fight to keep the cedar (actually, juniper) from taking over and the live oaks get their roots down into water which the original good grasses no longer got because of over-grazing and erosion. I guess I'm kind of an earth-firster in the sense that the very least we should be doing is to conserve sizable pockets of the original landscape. In Austin, a conservation area -- a city park -- was called "waste area" on the official city maps!
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Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2003 04:37 pm
Should pass along my gardens of Portugal book...
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Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2003 06:08 pm
Up here in my new home town, most of our design is with local native plants, mean very nearby local usually, although not absolutely all projects. Close to houses we do do rose gardens and herb gardens. Back in West Los Angeles, we used a wider palette, including many plants that would withstand a goodly amount of drought and heat, once their roots were established...and some of those originated in the Mediterranean area, some in South Africa.

I'd have to look around on line, I learned most of my "plant materials" before having access to Google, et al.

I agree with you on having ever widening areas of native vegetation, and keeping invasive plants (broom, eek!) We are lucky here in that a lot is still native and more and more people value it that way.

On the other hand, picture the Beverly Hills hotel with an allee of coastal sage...

This is all a little complicated ethically. I don't want to change the palms in Beverly Hills just yet, but I did quit doing landscaping for housing tracts with city and developer requirements for green lawns in desert areas, which walked me right on out of a long time full time job.

Portugal, I know absolutely nothing about landscape in Portugal...
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