Mediterranean style gardens are a big part of the California landscape. From San Francisco to San Diego, we see them in many different contexts; private gardens, public buildings and city centers, as well as commercial office complexes. The iconic Italian Cypress and Olive Tree are as ingrained in our vision of the California gardens as the Oak Tree and the California Fan Palm.
Mediterranean gardens are strong on texture. They are typically anchored down by a handful of proven performers in the green and grey green tones; Laurus, Italian Cypress, Olive Trees, Rosemary and Lavender, all come to mind. Most Mediterranean gardens are stately and elegant, yet ‘exciting’ and ‘dynamic’ are not terms that are usually associated with them.
There are ways, however to spice up the Mediterranean palette. Many new plant introductions exist with distinct foliage colors. These can be integrated into the traditional Mediterranean palette to give more visual interest and punch. Two examples of this would be Podocarpus ‘Icee Blue’ and Euphorbia ‘Sticks on Fire’. Some other great plants that liven things up are Coleanema ‘Sunset Gold’ and Heuchera ‘Crimson Curls”.
The trick is to integrate compatible plantings that punctuate the steady back drop of traditional plantings. The end result is a livelier garden that maintains a nod to the past, yet with a fresh distinctive twist.