For new homeowners in Turkey with a green thumb, gardening is a dream come true. Long dry summers and mild, semi-wet winters mean that a variety of home and garden plants thrive with proper care.
One of the characteristic images affiliated with Bodrum and Kalkan are bougainvillea. These hardy beauties come in shades of ruby, pink, lavender and deep purple. Rarer colors include yellow, white and salmon. Bougainvillea do not like being moved or disturbed, so when buying an established plant from a nursery, it’s important to move the plant into the ground with great care without disturbing any of the root system. These plants can be trained in a variety of positions, to grow straight up and flow over a terrace or rooftop; they can also be trained as a hedge, or to follow along an archway. They require very little care other than pruning twice per year.
A variety of cactus plants thrive along the coastline, and during the summer months, a number of street vendors sell the prickly pear fruit as a snack along the promenades of Aegean towns. There are even entire nurseries devoted solely to cactus, and some villas have chosen to decorate with stones and cactus to take advantage of the dry summer climate and to ease water usage.
Palm trees are another symbol of Aegean towns, and it is not unusual to see fully grown trees being transported by long bed trucks with winches from one nursery to private or commercial gardens. The picturesque boulevard of Bodrum is lined with palm trees planted by the legendary political exile, Cevat Sakir, also known as the Fisherman of Halicarnassus, and are over 50 years old. Many luxury villas on the Bodrum peninsula have established olive trees on them, with the yield of a few trees being enough to provide for a family’s annual consumption of oil and olive preserves.
Citrus trees flourish along the Mediterranean, especially lemons, oranges, tangerines and bergamots. Local species are versatile enough to be grown in large pots, and the fertility of citrus locally means that a kilo of tangerines in the wintertime is less than 50 pence.
Other garden plants that love the local climate and fertile ground are Chinese hibiscus, oleanders, fuchsias, hydrangeas, jasmine, honeysuckle, plumbago and magnolias. In April, wisteria emerges in full bloom throughout the Mediterranean. It’s a sight to behold, even if only for a couple of weeks.
What does not grow very easily are traditional green grass/lawns. The summer sun is very hard on the grass, and the amount of water consumption is enormous. Species of ice plants are hardier and more economical for large areas.
Luxury Property Turkey also challenges ambitious gardeners to attempt lime trees, as these have yet to be successfully established in Turkey. Subscribe to our newsletter for our upcoming article on edible wild plants – the ultimate in organic living.