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From the President: Summer dormancy and winter awakening

by Cali Doxiadis
photographs as attributed

For the full article see The Mediterranean Garden No 47, January 2007

“Even the most well-meaning of us often end up focusing on summer bloom and the need to prevail heroically over adverse circumstances. Our aim becomes to trick our garden into performance, when all it wants is rest.

One category of plants that escapes our ministrations – by evasion in this case – is that of plants with bulbs, rhizomes, corms or other underground storage systems that flower from September to May. These simply absent themselves during the drought, disappearing underground and escaping our notice until it’s time for them to do their thing. They are perhaps the most typical mediterranean plants, though we seldom think of them in this light, simply because “when the going gets tough” they’re not there.”

Colchicum cupanii – October, Sparoza. Photo by CW

Anemone coronaria – November, Sparoza. Photo by CW

Crocus cartwrightianus – December, Sparoza. Photo by DM

“During this sunny weekend with temperatures around 20° Celsius we lunched outdoors on the terrace, enjoying views of lush green and brilliant colours. Many of the blooms were holdovers from summer, seen in a new light when juxtaposed with the more typical berries, hips and red leaves of autumn.”

Autumn sunlight in a verdant MGS garden at Sparoza. November, Sparoza. Photo by CW

Euonymus japonicus – the pink berries splitting to reveal the
bright orange seeds. January, Corfu. Photo by CD

The front bed at the MGS garden with Rosa ‘Iceberg’
still in flower by a winter-flowering senecio.
November, Sparoza. Photo by CW

The leaves of laurustinus were glossy and dark, the pink buds and white blossoms set against the dark purple-blue of the berries.

Viburnum tinus – January, Corfu. Photo by CD

“Through the grass, paperwhite narcissi were blooming in bushy tufts, ready to provide the necessary Christmas perfume for Athens homes. In a couple of weeks they’ll be sold in inexpensive bunches at street corners in the capital.

Narcissus ‘Paper White’ – December, Sparoza. Photo by CW

CW – Chris Wassenberg
CD – Cali Doxiadis
DM – Davina Michaelides
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