Garden Photo of the Day

Inspiration From a Mediterranean Garden

A Canadian garden draws on gardens from similar climates

Today’s photos are from Cherry Ong’s recent visit to Butchart Gardens in British Columbia, Canada. You’ve probably seen photos of parts of the garden, but Cherry is treating us to a look at some less visited (but no less beautiful) areas of the garden. She writes:

These photos are from the Mediterranean Garden, which is sadly found adjacent to the parking lot and not frequented by the hordes like the Sunken Garden or Italian Garden. The description of the garden on the brochure reads: “A celebration of our mild climate, this unusual garden features many drought resistant plants from various areas of the world that share similar growing conditions to ours.”


Mediterranean-type climates are found in only a few places in the world: around the Mediterranean Sea (obviously), central Chile, western South Africa, southwestern Australia, and the west coast of North America. These climates are typified by dry summers and wet winters, and a distinctive set of plants thrives in those conditions. Sitting at the edge of the North American zone of Mediterranean climates, British Columbia is a natural place to celebrate the unique plants and gardens of this climate type.


This beautiful planting of tropical plants features the dramatic Sarian elephant ear (Alocasia ‘Sarian’, Zones 9–11).


Closeup of Alocasia ‘Sarian’


Agaves are native to the arid American West, but they adapt well to milder climates such as in British Columbia.


Planting for drought tolerance doesn’t have to be boring! Just keep your distance, as these agaves and prickly pears (Opuntia spp.) can do some damage. The good thing about that is that deer and rabbits leave them alone.


Yuccas are another classic plant for dry climates. By featuring different species and cultivars, this planting gets a lot of interest out of just yuccas.


Echeveria (Echeveria sp., Zones 10–11) have boomed in popularity in recent years, but usually as houseplants or in containers. They look amazing planted out en masse like this. If you want to make a planting like this in a climate with cold winter, remember that tender succulents can easily be planted outside in the summer, then brought in to a sunny windowsill for the winter before being used again the next year.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/10/2018

    How awesome is Butchart's version of a Mediterranean garden? Totally awesome!! The grouping of the elephant ears is amazing...appearing so tall and's like they are giving themselves and their neighbors a standing ovation. And, hubba hubba on those incredibly muscular looking handsomely beautiful.
    Thanks so much, Cherry, for capturing such great images of this part of the garden.

    1. perenniallycrazy 09/10/2018

      You're welcome Michaele. Glad you enjoyed the Mediterranean Garden photos.

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 09/10/2018

    Thank you for sharing that. I especially love those elephant ears.

    1. perenniallycrazy 09/10/2018

      You're welcome, Me too. They're a heartstopper for sure.

  3. annek 09/10/2018

    Cherry, your photographers eye has captured some amazing scenes. It makes me want to take a trip to the Mediterranean! Well done.

    1. perenniallycrazy 09/10/2018

      You're welcome, Me too. They're a heartstopper for sure.

  4. ancientgardener 09/10/2018

    What a wonderful surprise for this rain Monday morning in upstate New York. Years ago I visited Butchart Gardens and have longed to return ever since. I did not see the Mediterranean garden then, perhaps it wasn't even there, so it was great to see your pictures. What a backdrop those elephant ears make! And who knew row upon row of Echeveria would be so beautiful. Thank you for something new and inspiring!

    1. perenniallycrazy 09/10/2018

      You're very welcome. Glad to share some garden happiness today.

  5. sheila_schultz 09/10/2018

    It's no surprise to those that know me that Mediterranean gardens are my passion. There is so much beauty in plants that be striking when planted solo and jaw dropping when planted in masse. The yucca garden is what my dreams are made of. Thanks, Cherry! You always know how to bring a smile to my face!

    1. perenniallycrazy 09/10/2018

      So so true and we love your style and miss it a lot. Better hurry up that new garden of yours! Miss you lots Sheila.

  6. schatzi 09/10/2018

    good to hear from you again, Cherry. gorgeous pictures of one of my favorite gardens - tho I had not seen the Mediterrean part before. I sure miss the old crew of Gpodders.

    1. perenniallycrazy 09/10/2018

      Thank you. I share your sentiment and miss them too. Wish they would come back. (Though I have to admit I had been quiet or away for some lengths of time too.)

  7. Meelianthus 09/10/2018

    Hi Cherry, wonderful photos! I love those gardens and try to make it up to BC every year, although haven't yet been there in 2018 but am still hopeful. It's great to once again see the beauty of those gardens and glad you were able to visit and share on GPOD. Thanks :)

    1. perenniallycrazy 09/10/2018

      I hope we can meet someday soon Linda.

  8. user-7017435 09/10/2018

    Thank you for another terrific post Ms. Ong. "When heaven falls to earth it becomes a garden" Stouffer The writer might have had the PNW in mind when that was written. It seems any kind of garden can be grown there . Thank you & good luck, Joe

    1. perenniallycrazy 09/10/2018

      Awww.... that is a nice thought. I think it refers to Vancouver Island and the Olympic Peninsula though. I know many plants have died in my hands (true confessions!). Have a great week Joe!

  9. Maggieat11 09/10/2018

    Great photos, Cherry. I especially loved the photos of the Alocasia. Fab! Thank so much for sharing!

    1. perenniallycrazy 09/10/2018

      Thank you. Love Sarian and couldn't stop thinking about it after the visit.

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