These Cyprus garden pictures were taken after just two years of growth and they show that EVERY Cyprus plant in the garden was 5-6 times bigger than when they were planted!
Oleander bushes can grow to the size of small trees and this Cyprus shrub is most often seen at the side of roads giving a vibrant splash of colour to offset the scorched Cyprus landscape in summer.
I had a huge pruning job to do in the autumn after this photo was taken in May and I had to be careful not to get the sap on my skin as it is poisonous in high doses!
My favourite purple bush, called solano here in Cyprus, gives all year round colour. These bushes, like oleander, need little water once established. If you have topiary skills, you can make them look far more attractive than mine ;)
I've managed to take one cutting that has worked after several unsuccessful attempts but as I have 7 of these pretty shrubs in the garden, I don't need any more at the moment.
My only problem with solano is that it can get very stringy if you don't keep it well pruned and if you let it go a little wild, the woody stalks are tough to cut.
Lavender has a beautiful smell as well as being a colorful addition to your Cyprus garden. Our new addition to the family, Rocky, the rescue pup, adores lavender and always smells good as he buries himself in it during the summer months searching for lizards.
I had to cut these plants back brutally after the first year and look how big they have grown again already!
And here is one of my favourite herbs - rosemary. It's great for marinades, stews and stuffing into a chicken with some lemons before roasting, but even I can't use this much rosemary from my Cyprus garden. I only have about 10 of these bushes in the garden!
But hey, maybe there's an opportunity here for a small dried herb business?
By the way, the lilac flowers are really pretty when the plant is in flower during spring.
Canna lillies add a vibrant splash of colour to any garden. Unfortunately only my red ones seem to have done well or maybe the yellow ones took offence to my harsh pruning after the first year!
Update November 2011 - sadly most of the canna lillies have now gone. They don't like the clay soil in our garden and they also require a lot of regular watering to flower well.
We don't like to use irrigation much during summer as the island never has enough water, so avoid this plant unless you are prepared to water well and often.
Geraniums! My all time favourite flower in Cyprus - EASY to grow even for total beginners like me and even more EASY to propogate. Just pull a piece off, stick it in a bucket of water for a couple of days and plant wherever you like.
This one was only 6 months old when the picture was taken - a cutting taken from an even bigger plant!
So far I've discovered that most herbs and vegetables do not like intense full sun, so make sure you find a shady spot for half the day during summer.
Herbs like basil, thyme and oregano thrive much better in partial shade throughout the day in the summer months. Try to buy wild oregano as it's more hardy than the cultivated variety.
And with basil, always grow the perrenial Cypriot variety, taking cuttings through the summer which grow into enormous new plants in a matter of weeks - they're great for fending off mosquitos!
After a year of trial and error, I put my tomatoes in pots in the shade and they did well versus being in full sun.
But my experiments with cherry tomatoes have now given me a proven method of growing perfect tomatoes all year round.
I even got a winter crop this year (Dec 2011) and have just picked another 2kg of beautiful little tomatoes.
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