By Teo Spengler
When you are tired of planting overused garden vines like jasmine, try taking a look at something different, like Chinese dregea plants. What is Chinese dregea? It?s an Asian climbing vine with evergreen foliage and fragrant white flowers. Learn more here.
These plants offer the typical easy-care quality of most Mediterranean-climate plants but they also spring some surprises in flower color and form, foliage texture and growth habit. Remember that “Mediterranean climate” isn’t limited to Europe. It usually refers to areas with mild, wet winters and warm or hot summers during which little or no rain falls: this includes parts of north Africa, western South Africa, California, central Chile, and parts of western and southern Australia.
Mediterranean plants from around the world meet in the garden of Western Hills. Spiky orange flowers are Watsonia pillansii hybrids, from South Africa. Spiky tree is Cordyline australis ‘Albertii’, from New Zealand. Photo by: Rob Cardillo.
Appeal: Mediterranean plants add texture, color, an informal look—and a spirit of sunny lands—to almost any garden. Their ability to withstand dry conditions for long periods is a real plus in all climates.
Zones: Best zones for all-year growing are 8 to 11. In colder climates, overwinter plants in a greenhouse, treat as summer annuals, or choose only frost-hardy species.
Exposure: Many are sun lovers, and are well adapted to surviving a summer drought. But plenty will also thrive in semishade. Try woodland natives in shadier gardens.
Soil: Generally, Mediterranean plants prefer good drainage. In winter it tends to be wet, waterlogged soil, not simply cold weather, that often leads to their downfall. Most Mediterranean plants have adapted to drought conditions, but some do appreciate moisture-retentive soil in summer.
Apricot and bronze lilylike flowers of Alstroemeria ligtu hybrids wiggle through Western Australian grass tree (Xanthorrhoea preisii, a.k.a. "bad hair day on legs"). Photo by: Rob Cardillo.
The Bund is one of the most recognizable architectural symbols of Shanghai. It showcases the world with its colonial European buildings and skyscrapers the other side of the Huangpu, housing one of the world's foremost business districts.
The Bund was Shanghai's most prosperous area in late 19th century and early 20th century. When the first British company opened an office at the Bund in 1846, it became the epitome of elegance.
Climbing hydrangea needs a rich, moist, well-drained soil. If your soil needs improvement, mix in a generous amount of compost before planting. Apply a 3-inch layer of mulch to help retain water in the ground around the root zone and reduce weeds. Fertilize this plant in the spring before the leaves begin to bud. Granular fertilizer with a high phosphorous count will create beautiful blooms. Fertilize again after the flowers have bloomed in the summer. As with other hydrangea plants, this species likes constantly moist soil. Place it where it will get watered about 1 inch weekly, or even more often in hot weather. Interesting side note about the word hydrangea: the Greek root hydrrefers to water, and angeon comes from the Greek for "vessel."
This plant is hardy in USDA plant zones 5 through 7, does well in temperate climates but may wilt in hot, humid conditions. It can be damaged by sunburn and prefers daytime temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and night temperatures around 60 degrees. It will set buds only if there are six weeks of temperatures below 65 degrees. A sudden frost can damage the buds and you may not see flowers the next year.
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