Pflanzen in meinem Salento-Garten

Piante nel mio giardino salentino

Plants in my Salento garden

Meine Erfahrungen

Le mie esperienze

My experiences

In 14 years I've tried a lot, I've succeeded a lot, a lot has failed.

The garden is primarily an ornamental garden, a "park" in the making.

Conditions and measures

The soil layer is only about 30 cm. Below are massive limestone cliffs, in which holes can only be drilled with heavy equipment.
Extensive rain falls only in the months of October to April. From mid-May to early September there is practically no precipitation. There can be strong thunderstorms with lots of rain during this time. After an hour the sun bangs mercilessly again and the temperatures rise again to at least 30 degrees.

In the summer, the plants either need to be watered continuously or they have dug their roots into the limestone strata over the course of about two years. The limestone stores the rain so that the plants can survive the summer with the help of the water stored in the limestone. But the two years, many newly planted shrubs and trees need irrigation support. Exceptions are the plants that store water (see below).

In summer it gets so dry that the ground cracks and cracks.


I "covered" the beds with smaller stones. Our area is very rich in stones, so that I was able to collect umpteen carts of small stones on the neighboring properties. The stones turn light gray to white over the years. They reflect the sunlight. And they store water for a short time after irrigation. Another side effect is that the weeds/unwanted wild plants cannot spread too much. This keeps weeding to a minimum. The soil is very fertile, which means it is a good basis for weeds/wild plants to thrive.

For the first few years I used glyphosate to control weeds. The downside was that glyphosate takes about two weeks to dry off the plants. During this time, the plants form seeds and the next time it rains, the fun starts all over again.

In the garden there are many islands of plants, which are framed with larger stones. The unplanted areas have been leveled and will be mowed with the lawn mower before the plants can set seeds. So I can't completely but largely keep the weeds in check.

Even the olive growers no longer spray, they now plow several times a year.

Planting time
The ideal planting time is from October to March
(Rain - see above).


Flowers and herbs, shrubs and trees

There are many interesting and beautiful plants in the Mediterranean area.
Since I'm not in the sunny south all year round, I largely planted the garden with easy-care water self-sufficient plants.

Flowers and herbs

Theoretically, all flowers and herbs can be planted. There is no frost and snow for at most one day a year. However, the winters are cool and wet. The soil hardly lets water through (waterlogging), the humidity is very high in winter.


Flowers that store water such as geraniums, lavender, aloes (very beautiful inflorescences), fat hen, red finger vygie (offshoots from the beach dunes) and agaves are no problem. Tulips, lilies and amaryllis are thriving, but flowering is short due to the heat.

The reed bamboo and ornamental grasses, which can be up to three meters high, also tolerate long dry periods.

I propagated geraniums, lavender and the Rotfinger Vygie by cuttings. In the fall, these rampant plants need to be cut back. The cut pieces are then stuck into the moist soil. After two years they are strong plants. Agaves reproduce by root suckers. These can be planted elsewhere for propagation. On the other hand, they can also become a plague.

Lemon balm and sage are easy to care for. They survive drought. (See rosemary under shrubs). Basil wants to be watered.

Shrubs and trees

All citrus, fruit bushes/trees, most ornamental bushes/trees and olive trees (unless they have sprouted as wildlings) would like to be watered continuously during the summer months two years after planting. After that, their roots have drilled into the limestone rocks and they provide themselves with water.

On the other hand, pines, oleanders, yucchas, rosemary, acacia, palm trees and eucalyptus are easy to care for and therefore my favorites. They do not need watering in summer. I propagate yuccas by sawing off parts of old yuccas and sticking them in the ground and, if necessary, using a stake to protect them from falling over in winter storms. I also propagated rosemary from cuttings, with patience.

Pine trees grow up to 10 m high within 10 years. Eucalyptus grows up to 12 m in height in 10 years.

Also resistant to drought is the hawthorn brought from Germany and the Opuntia, which are widespread in the south like weeds and produce prickly “Indian figs” as fruits over the course of the summer.

I planted ivy, jasmine and self-climbing virgin vine to green the pergolas, the seating area and the fence. After a year of "water care" they are also self-sufficient.

Climbing roses, bougainvillea, blue buddleia, mimosa, and the orange trumpet flower all have beautiful blooms but take several years to become water self-sufficient.



I haven't mentioned all the plants that feel good in my garden.

Many birds also feel at home here. The five suspended nesting boxes are used by "subtenants" every year.

I will keep experimenting.