Garden Gang: Making the most of your outdoor space
Whether your Menorcan villa is a second home, holiday home or permanent residence, the outside space is as important as the interior. It is wonderful to be able to enjoy the spring and summer sunshine in your private space as well as on the spectacular beaches or abundant natural parks. In fact, your garden can give pleasure all year round when you may not want to venture to the windy coastline.
So when the nature of a garden is to grow, how can you ensure that your outside space remains a sanctuary?
It is key to choose plants and shrubs that suit the natural climate of Menorca. If your home is a holiday destination, don’t fall into the trap of desiring the same plants as you enjoy at home. Allow your Menorcan garden to be a reflection of Menorca itself. So take the time to have a look at what is growing in the local area and go from there. Cycad and yucca work really well in a low maintenance space, bringing an indestructible backdrop of green.
A garden is not just about greenery. For a definitive splash of colour, look to hibiscus for a beautiful and low maintenance flower. Similarly, members of the daisy family such as osteospermum provide continual flowering without the need for scheduled watering. In addition, don’t forget bulbs for a perennial annual flowering. The nerine bulb thrives in arid habitats, while the amaryllis belladonna is a popular, low maintenance bulb.
For many months, you can expect your soil to be naturally dry and arid. So aside from choosing your plants to complement this soil, what should you be thinking about? Fertiliser can be applied in spring. Out of this season, choose a liquid over a granular fertiliser which is of little use in summer as they need to dissolve to become available to the plant. To retain moisture during hot months, mulching is a must for beds and pots. Go for a good layer of coloured gravel for maximum protection of the soil.
A traditional lawn is notoriously difficult to maintain during periods of absence. If your perfect Menorcan garden requires a lush grassy area and you are not present all summer to maintain it, you should look to outsource maintenance. With gardeners able to provide anything from annual to weekly lawn care, you can ensure that your carpet of green remains lush from visit-to-visit.
Delighting not just the eyes but also the nose, herbs are an excellent addition to your Menorcan garden. Lavender is low maintenance and abundant, thriving in direct sunlight and pleasing (not to mention distracting) the bees! For home cooks, thyme, sage, basil and rosemary love hot conditions but do require watering so for those who plan to be absent for periods, ensure your garden is watered regularly.
As much as we agree that sunshine should be enjoyed, it is vital to have large areas of shade to make the most of your private haven on Menorca. Consider the length of time that you will spend outdoors; realistically from the spring to the autumn you will make use of ‘outdoor rooms’. Citrus and olive trees are a clear frontrunner if you have the space while climbing plants are an ideal solution for smaller areas and terraces. Vines and wisteria offer the lowest maintenance for maximum shade, while flowering climbers such as sweet pea can also thrive.
The success of your garden on Menorca will depend in some part on your own presence. If you are periodically absent from your garden or derive little joy from caring for it, you must consider gardening services to keep the space enjoyable. Even the lowest maintenance gardens require some attention, and when so much time is spent outdoors, it makes sense to ensure that this attention is given in some form.