Mediterranean Garden Society

Wild flora and natural landscapes

The photos at the top of this page show natural landscapes in Mediterranean regions worldwide: Italy, Western Australia, South Africa, Greece, Jordan, California

MGS members often look to the natural landscape for inspiration as to what plants will thrive in our Mediterranean gardens. We are also curious about the natural flora of other Mediterranean regions around the world. Here we draw together a selection of writings from the TMG Journal and websites in recent years that explore the natural world.

Wild flower walks in the Sibillini Mountains

Jan Thompson takes us to the Sibillini Mountains in central Italy on the hunt for wild flowers in every season of the year. Follow her walks as she reports on what floral treasures she discovers.

Exploring the Plants of Western Australia

Eleftherios Dariotis explores the vegetation of Western Australia to find answers to the gardening questions that have occurred to him while trying to grow Australian plants in his own garden on the outskirts of Athens. Read about his expedition here.

A Botanical Tour of Namaqualand

Andrew Sloan, who gardens in southern Spain, is a collector of aloes. His trip from Cape Town to the Namibian border of South Africa coincided with the incredible mass flowering event of the Namaqualand daisies in the desert, as well numerous other species seen growing in their natural habitat. Read his article here.

Tulipomania - a personal discovery of Greek tulips

Lucinda Willan, Head Gardener at Sparoza, goes on the hunt for species tulips that grow wild in Greece. She travels across Attica, the Peloponnese and Crete and whilst she discovers many stunning varieties it is also clear that their habitats are under threat. Follow her journey here.

Orchids in the home of the Centaurs

Phillip Cribb was invited along to find and identify orchids and other plants of Pelion for the participants on a botanical illustration course run by Carol Woodin, the eminent botanical artist, and on the post-course tour to the famous sites of Meteora and Delphi. Read his report here.

A personal reflection of the MGS Jordanian excursion

Nancy and Dave Moon talked to Crete branch about the MGS wildflower tour to Jordan in March 2020, which was unfortunately cut short due to Covid. John Joynes wrote a very good article about the trip which is in the MGS Journal 101 of July 2020. If members read this in conjunction with that, they will get a good idea of the trip as a whole.

A visit to South Africa

Geoff Crowhurst grows South African bulbs from imported seed in his garden in Victoria, Australia. This interest inspired him to take a trip to South Africa, Western Cape area with its true mediterranean climate. He writes about his visit to Nieuwoudtville, which has been called the bulb capital of the world as it is possible to count more bulbous plants per square metre here than anywhere else on earth.

Plant hunting on Samos: birthplace of the queen of the gods

Lucinda Willan, Head Gardener at Sparoza, joined Lefteris Dariotis as assistant on a plant hunting trip to Samos, for the Institute of Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources of the Hellenic Agricultural Organization Demeter. She writes: Samos is the most easterly of the islands of the East Aegean being just a mile from the Turkish coast. It has a rich flora of over 1,500 plant species and many endemics, including some of Greece’s rarest.

A Spring Walk in ‘Spili Bumps’, Spili, Rethymno

Valerie Whittington visits this small but special plateau which is full of flowers at this time of year. The name means the Plain of Eos, who was the goddess of the Dawn in Greek mythology. It is a lovely unspoiled pocket of western Crete with stunning scenery on the drive up. Read her report here.

Late Winter in a Chaparral Garden

Ann Semaan Beisch was invited to visit the botanical garden at the University of California in Riverside where she found natural chaparral landscape, experiencing its compact, fragrant almost impenetrable tangle of limbs and thorns, flowers and fruit. But she writes that only with a directed effort to preserve the chaparral, awareness by the community of its decline and a reversal of the under-appreciation of its beauty will it flourish.

Grasses in Pelion

Sue Wake gardens in Pelion, Greece. Sue writes that Mediterranean grasses are numerous and many of them can be found in Pelion. Although known for its verdant landscape with many varieties of trees, Pelion is also home to numerous medicinal plants and herbs as well as orchids and more general mediterranean flora, including grasses.

Trip to the Canary Islands February 2019

Alisdair Aird reports on the MGS excursion to the Canary Islands; the main emphasis was on the islands' native plants, including many endemics, in their natural habitats - often, landscapes of great and remarkably varied beauty. There were lush forests, steep crags, plunging valleys, arid volcano slopes and coastal lava fields, each with their own special plants.

Botanising in Tunisia

Jonny Bruce was invited to visit Tunisia supported by an MGS travel bursary. Whilst lacking the topographical grandeur of the High Atlas, so there are significantly fewer endemic species here compared to the country’s neighbours to the west, Morocco and Algeria. However, he writes that Tunisia is still a beautiful country of diverse landscapes and with a flora well worth exploring.

Preserving Endangered Plants

John Joynes describes how a chance finding of an endemic arum in his Cypriot garden opened up a new interest in the preservation of rare and endemic plants. He describes eight which he has cultivated himself.


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