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New Mediterranean Garden Transports Visitors Afar

This article was first published on 15 Dec 2010.

Mediterranean Garden

Mediterranean Garden

I have been fortunate enough to have been involved in one of the latest Dunedin Botanic Garden projects over the last 18 months. Skills have been extended, geography brushed up, and an amity gained with new plants.

The Mediterranean Garden is situated on the slopes below the Southern African Garden. Surrounded by native bush in a sheltered microclimate, it provides ideal growing conditions for plants native to the Mediterranean region.

At the top of the garden is an Italianate terrace which includes a water feature. This is positioned to make the most of the magnificent view looking out towards the Leith Valley.  Below this, the beds have been raised using dry stone walls. These were built by Garden staff, each rock having been hand picked from the quarry, and painstakingly placed.

I have been astounded at how many Mediterranean plants are commonly grown in home gardens.  For this project many have been gathered from within the boundaries of the Botanic Garden. Others have been sourced from nurseries, and the international seed exchange programme.

The finishing touch is a limestone chip mulch, adding to the atmosphere and deceiving you into thinking you’ve taken flight and landed somewhere exotic.

  • The iris pictured is orris root, Iris pallida, native to Northern Italy and the Dalmatian coast.

Robyn Freeth is the Rock, Water & Alpine Collection Curator at the Dunedin Botanic Garden.