A Greek garden is a garden that contains plants and herbs that are commonly found in Greece. Because the climate in Greece is arid and warm with mild winters, plants for a Greek garden should be adaptable to these growing conditions. A Greek garden can also be called a Mediterranean garden, because Greece is located on the Mediterranean Sea and shares a common coastal climate with parts of nearby countries such as Spain, France and Italy.
The variety of oregano known as Greek oregano is a valuable herb used extensively in Greek cooking. It has a richer taste and is more aromatic than Sicilian or other varieties of oregano. It grows in average well-drained garden soil and is a perennial plant, meaning it lives from year to year. It should be sheared back by half its overall size in the spring to create new growth that is best for cooking. Greek oregano grows best if given some supplemental moisture during the driest parts of the year.
Rosemary is an herb that grows into a shrub that can be sheared into a dense shape. Some types of rosemary grow tall and erect, and others sprawl along the ground. It has thick, dense and narrow leaves that are aromatic when crushed. It thrives in arid climates where it is not prone to fungal or mildew problems. Rosemary is often used in Mediterranean cooking and is a popular plant for Greek-style gardens. It thrives in average or poor well-drained garden soil in full sun.
The Bougainvillea is actually a shrub that some consider a vine because it can be trained over a trellis or garden wall. It is frost sensitive, but prefers to grow in arid and mild climates. The actual flowers are small and white and are located inside the colorful bracts that are formed several times a year when the bougainvillea puts on new growth. The bracts may be bright magenta, pink, red, yellow or orange. Bougainvilleas are grown in containers or along walls out of the way of human traffic because of their large thorns. For best blooming results cut back the limbs at least 6 inches after each bloom period and protect from frost.
There are many varieties of hibiscus that are appropriate for a Greek garden. Although some varieties, like the star hibiscus, can bounce back after a freeze, most varieties will die when temperatures get below freezing, so some protection is required. Hibiscus produce beautiful open-faced flowers of orange, pink, red, purple, or yellow. They bloom constantly all summer as long as the old blooms are removed before they go to seed. Hibiscus grow in average garden soil in full sun. All varieties need supplemental moisture to survive the driest part of the season.
Crape myrtles are available in tall as well as dwarf and mini varieties. They thrive in dry, arid climates if given supplemental moisture. The smooth bark that sheds in strips adds interest to the plant as it matures. All varieties lose their leaves in the winter. They bloom profusely during the hottest part of the summer, and the leaves turn yellow or red in the fall. Crape myrtles grow best in full sun, because they are prone to fungal and mildew diseases when grown in shady locations.