Pressure for development, particularly in coastal areas, has removed whole landscapes from their natural function as refuges for plants, birds and animals. As gardeners and managers of land in Mediterranean climate zones we have an important role to play in providing havens for plants and associated wildlife. Your garden may seem small and insignificant in the context of conservation but the really powerful message is that if enough gardeners follow good practice, by actively using and encouraging native plants to grow, then the combined areas will be enormous and our actions will have a positive impact.
The Mediterranean flora is one of the most diverse and, at the same time, one of the most threatened
Prasium majus - mediterranean prasium
Scilla peruviana - native, the Portuguese squill
In addition it is important to acknowledge that we are living through a period of climate change and gardeners are not immune to the problem and its effects on our day to day lives. It is possible to have a beautiful and interesting garden without needlessly squandering precious water resources and resorting to the heavy use of pesticides and herbicides. Not only is this an investment in the future, it is a more cost effective and low maintenance way to maintain land and gardens.
Another way we can contribute to conservation of threatened landscapes and the plants they hold is to support those professionals working in research and investigation. Taxonomy and botany are vitally important studies which deserve our attention. Establishing appropriate plant communities in previously damaged landscapes is just one of the ways we can redress the balance and some time spent on research of your own area will be amply rewarded.
Below are some links to useful information which should help you get started on learning more about the varied and marvellous Mediterranean flora.
Plant Heritage The world’s leading garden plant conservation charity, bringing together the talents of botanists, horticulturalists and conservationists and the dedication of keen amateur and professional gardeners. Responsible for over 600 National Plant Collections which include many Mediterranean species.