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My Private Dancers

by Burford Hurry

For the full text of this article see The Mediterranean Garden No 56, April 2009

The house and garden are about 500 metres from the town centre and on a small perennial stream. They are bounded on two sides by roads and have a small communal path on their west side and the stream on the other. The garden consists of a series of terraces that curve down past the house to the stream itself which cascades down over a small waterfall. It is a very small garden, the top terrace being about 300 square metres and the remaining terraces make up about another 200 square metres. On the lowest terrace there are two springs that flow the year round.

The present garden was established in 2000. There were already a well established olive tree, a carob tree and orange tree on the top terrace and a huge white mulberry that plunges its roots in the stream. A fairly large Casuarina stricta was removed - with difficulty. The soil is rather deep and plants seem to grow well in it.

View of the top terrace from the main road showing the
pomegranate, one of my “private dancers” [right] and a
small fountain with a castor oil bush in the foreground, all
backed by a mature olive and carob tree.

Another view of the top terrace with an orange tree and
Chamaerops humilis in the foreground and a view of the
herbaceous border with Kniphofia 'Border Ballet',
spontaneous red poppies and a silver Senecio.

'The private dancer', the pomegranate tree.

A corner of the top terrace.

The fountain with the olive tree.

A view of the waterfall. The other private dancer, the Euphorbia,
can just be seen at the right-hand corner of the terrace with the
balustrade and below that a bamboo palm, a cycad and an
Encephalartos on the edge of the river, with a huge white mulberry
in the background; the tips of the fronds of a South African tree fern
under the mulberry can also just be seen.
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