These are probably the least known and used concepts for our actual landscape. They are the ones that make our Mediterranean gardens and the essence of its design and true gardening; the ones we are most truly passionate about.


People do actually backpack and hike miles to get into this beautiful landscapes, others build secondary residences, but either way it seems that there is a massive scar between the landscape beyond our houses and cities, and the countryside. Sad, don’t you think? We like it there, but not that close. Is it because it is too much complication or just because there is not enough knowledge and ambition? Bringing nature back to our doorstep is something we should all be more aware of.


Mediterranean flora includes about 10% of all known species, in an area covering roughly 1.5% of the earth land mass. Particularly rich are the plant systems grouped under the so-called “matorral”. These are known as garrigue and maquis in France; gariga and macchia in Italy; xerovuni and phrygana in Greece; matorral and tomillares in Spain.


They range from low growing subshrubs to taller associations that include trees. They may be dynamic, evolving  towards grassland or forest; or in many other cases, weather and soil conditions combined with human usage keep matorral landscapes stable for centuries.


Usually, their brightest moment is in April, and this formations include bulbs, grasses, shrubs and trees.



Paolo Pejrone Photograph: Clive Nichols.


What can we do? What can you do to bring it home?

  1. You need to know those species, so observe your surrounding.
  2. Don’t be afraid to use them as nature does. It it works for her, why would not work for you.
  3. You don’t need to water them so often this plants (after first year establishment). Probably you do already have them at home and still water them automatically from Spring to Autumn.




I design because I like things to happen. I like to change the established. This is not new. It’s a question of learning to read the landscape. We all can, we all must.



“Here earth and water seem to strive again,
Not chaos like together crushed and bruised,
But as the world, harmoniously confused:
Where order in variety we see,
And where, though all things differ, all agree.”
Alexander Pope (l. 12-16)
1. Mediterranean Landscape Design. Vernacular Contemporay. Louisa Jones. Ed. Thames & Hudson

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