Deceptively real: the doppelgÀnger of Mediterranean plants

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With their Mediterranean plants, the gardens of the Mediterranean countries fascinate the visitor. And they make you wishing to transfer something of this enchanting southern atmosphere into your own garden. The dream to create a garden with a Mediterranean flair can be realized, if you replace olive tree and Co. by plants that have a similar habit and are hardy. Enriching the garden also with beautiful accessories such as terracotta pots, stone figures or even with a pool of water, transforms your own garden into a small Mediterranean paradise.

Willow-leaved pear instead of olive tree

An olive tree in the garden: Can this be good in our latitudes? Sure it can, because it is a darn good doppelganger. What grows so gnarly and exhibits elongated, silver-gray leaves, is the willow-leaved pear (Pyrus salicifolia). It tolerates heat and dryness, but defies unlike its Mediterranean counterpart, the olive, the frost. The narrow-leaved oil pasture (Elaeagnus angustifolia) also drives imitation art to the extreme: It also produces olive-shaped fruits that are edible and sweet-tasting. The southern-looking small tree has another attraction in store: In May and June show yellow-silvery flower bells that smell pleasant.

olive tree

Willow-leaved pear

Gnarled trunk, overhanging branches and silver foliage - typically Olive (left). But with the plant (right) you have to look twice before you realize that it is a willow-leaved pear

Real laurel

The real laurel (Laurus nobilis) is less about the flower effect. It is prized for its shiny, aromatic fragrant leaves that give a distinctive spice to dishes. Those who continue to buy the spice in the shop can also make use of cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) in the garden - but leaves and berries are poisonous! He defies cold temperatures better than the southerners, but is still grateful when it is protected from winter sun or dehydrating east winds.

Trumpet flower instead of bougainvillea

Like the Bougainvillea, the trumpet flower (Campsis radicans) conquers house walls or trellises - at first reserved, after a few years at a rapid pace. Although it does not quite match the color of the magnificent Bougainvillea and does not reach its full bloom, but its large trumpet flowers still have at least as much charm. The favorite hobby of the two climbing artists: sunbathing! Only then do they delight their owners with countless flowers. If you also cut back last year's shoots in the spring to a few eyes, that spurs the trumpet flower to peak performance. On a trellis you can safely do without, because the plant climbs similar to the ivy with adhesive roots. But the wisteria (Wisteria chinensis) and vines (Vitis vinifera) that rose up on a pergola are a great substitute for Mediterranean plants.


trumpet flower

Typical for the south: Bougainvilleas cover sunny house walls or trellises with a sea of ​​flowers in pink (left). From July to September, the trumpet flower (right) trumps with orange-red flowers

Alternative for citrus plants

Among the citrus plants, there is a species that stands up to frosty temperatures and can therefore be planted in the garden: the trifoliate orange or bitter orange (Poncirus trifoliata). It bears fragrant, white flowers in spring and scarce mandarin-sized fruits in summer. However, these are very sour and therefore hardly edible. Young plants in cooler regions need winter protection from mulch and fleece in the first few years, after which the frost can no longer harm them.

Bitter orange Poncirus trifoliata

With the bitter orange, the illusion is perfect: Although it is not so closely related to the real citrus, its fruits are hardly distinguishable by laymen from real citrus fruits

Juniper instead of cypress

In the cool north, where the true cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) no longer thrives properly, slender juniper varieties such as Juniperus communis 'Stricta' are a good alternative. However, the largest population is the extremely narrow-leaved rocket juniper (Juniperus scropulorum 'Skyrocket'). All junipers thrive better on dry, dry sandy soils than in moist, nutrient-rich loam. Here the column yew trees (Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata') are the first choice, even if they are not so close to the original.


Column Yew

The evergreen cypresses dominate Tuscany and in the mild winegrowing climate, they also cope in our latitudes (left). Column yew and column juniper in combination with heather do not give any thought to the Mediterranean.But that changes quickly when combined with lavender


Even the rosemary does not like our temperatures in winter. Normally, the pot is buried in the garden during the summer and taken to the winter quarters in autumn. Too much work? Then just plant the robust rosemary-leaved willow (Salix rosmarinifolia). Only for the next lamb roast you have to get the wort elsewhere.

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