When we moved to the south of France, we had to learn new things about gardening. What works in the rainy north or in the Midwest wasn’t appropriate for a temperate place with such dry summers.
So we observed. We wanted low maintenance, which meant mostly perennials. Unless you’re right next door, you don’t always see how much work the neighbors put into keeping their gardens beautiful. If it’s their No. 1 hobby and not yours, then you need different inspiration.
Towns around here do a great job of planting and putting out flowers. We ignored the annuals that get dug up and switched out every few months. Instead, we looked at the roadsides, where plants are on their own once they’ve been put in by municipal workers. Maintenance once or twice a year. Little or no watering.
Here is what we see:
Silver leaf, left, and silver mist, right.
Russian sage, left (purple), and Texas sage, right.
Two kinds of Jerusalem sage (clearly the sage family is a hardy choice).
Rosemary, left, as ground cover, and bamboo, right, as a thick screen (it’s about six feet high).
Oleander, in many colors. That this grows in the median on the autoroute tells you something. After it is established–two or three years–it doesn’t need watering. It stays green all through our mild winters, and blooms voluptuously all summer.
How do you choose what to grow in your garden?