Private (garden) paradises on Mallorca

Mallorca is a Mediterranean Garden of Eden in itself. Mountains, coast and flat land form different landscapes on which an immense variety of plants thrive. If you want to bring a piece of nature into your own garden, you can hire professionals or try it yourself. Three experts reveal their gardening tips!
TEXT   isla editorial office (bk)
PHOTO   Gunnar Knechtel
Private paradises - Mallorca's secret gardens

Mallorca is a Garden of Eden in itself. Mountains, coast and flat land form different landscapes on which an immense variety of plants thrive. If you want to bring a piece of nature into your own garden, you can hire professionals or try it yourself. The ideal planting time for an ornamental garden begins after the summer, because then the plants can grow in peace and are ready for the next heat.

If you dare to plant a vegetable patch, you can still plant summer vegetables now. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, for example. Native varieties are advisable here, as they are less demanding and can withstand the heat well. And why not use edibles decoratively?
isla asked three experts for tips on how to create your own Mediterranean garden.

Hélène Lindgens from Son Muda Gardens thinks rosemary "lawns" are great, Erika Könn recommends the lush pomegranate trees for ornamental and Andrea Lechte raves about Tulbaghia violacea, a delicate, purple-flowering bulbous plant that smells so strong, however, that it should not be planted right next to the patio.

Erika Könn - Horticulture - Landscape architect and gardener on Mallorca

Erika Könn: I've never been bored here!

Erika Könn has been working on the island since 2001. She was initially employed by a planning office and a gardening company, but has been self-employed since 2005. Born in Düsseldorf, she is a gardener and garden and landscape architect and has also gained professional experience in Italy, Switzerland and Venezuela.

Erika Könn - gardener, garden and landscape architect interviewed by isla

How would you characterize Mallorca as a planting location?
As very diverse. The island has various microclimate zones and correspondingly different types of landscape. A coastal garden in Cala Morada has to be laid out very differently to one in Bendinat, and there are even big differences within an island region. For example, it rains much less in Santanyí than in Felanitx. That gives me plenty of scope for creativity. I've never been bored here.

You have many customers in the southeast. What do you have to look out for here?
The south and southeast are very dry. I live in Binissalem. If the meadows are already green here, they are still dry here. The tap water is not of good quality and many wells are saline. You have to bear this in mind when choosing plants and caring for them later. And we have a problem with rabbits in the south-east. They used to be hunted, but nobody does that anymore. And there are too few birds of prey. For example, I planted a garden with a lawn that we never had to mow: the rabbits regularly came to eat. They only like tender, young plants, and sometimes they dig them up to get to the roots. This means you should plant in the fall, because that's when the rabbits find enough food in the fields.

What time of year is best for planting?
Fall is a good time of year for large gardens from November to December, in October it depends on the rainfall. Then the plants still have time to develop their roots and survive the winter. Winter is a good time to plant conifers, such as cypresses, or fruit trees: almonds, pomegranates, plums ... but not citrus trees. The end of February, beginning of March to the end of April is another good time for planting. It is warm, the plants are developing and are ready for the summer, which is the most extreme season here. From May onwards, it becomes difficult because freshly planted plants should be watered a lot, and when heat is added, fungi can form quickly.

Which plants would you not recommend to non-professionals?
All high-maintenance lawns, for example fine turf. It works from October to May, but rarely survives the summer as it needs a lot of water and soil fungi quickly form in the heat. Grama or Bermuda grass is an alternative. Lavender is not easy either, it needs well-drained soil and is also susceptible to fungi. In general, you can say that anything that flowers a lot needs more care because the faded flowers have to be cut out. Roses are the best example of this.

Which plants guarantee their owner success and pleasure?
The oleander may have a reputation as a "highway plant", but it is actually fantastic. It is grateful and decorative. It flowers continuously from May to October and needs little water. In spring and fall, it sometimes gets aphids, but these disappear with the heat and cold. Bougainvillea also works well. If it is sheltered from the wind, it even keeps its leaves all year round. And then there's the rampion: It is a small shrub that flowers throughout the summer. And rosemary always works too, of course. I like to plant the creeping varieties.

What tips do you have for readers who don't always live in their home?
Then you should choose native plants, such as the mastic bush, olives or succulents. They need water for the first two years, then they can usually manage without it. As a general rule, if you water your garden, you need someone to look after it, as the irrigation system then needs to be checked, as do the weeds that grow all year round.

Native plants mean joy.

Tips from Erika Könn for your garden on Mallorca

1. choose native plants such as the mastic bush, olives or succulents.
2. get support for the regular inspection of your irrigation system if you are not always on site yourself.

garden designer
Mobile: +34 699 31 38 79


Flowering succulents with Erika Könn on Mallorca
Andrea Lechte, Mallorca

Andrea Lechte: Now you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Has at least 50 gardens Andrea Lechte already laid out on the island, and in a variety of ways: hillside gardens by the sea, bonsai olive gardens, dry gardens. The garden and landscape architect from Rendsburg has lived on Mallorca since 2006, seeking inspiration during her botanical trips to England, France and California and while hiking on Mallorca. Her passion is for large, park-like gardens.

Andrea Lechte - Garden and landscape architect in an interview with isla

It's gardening season in Germany. What can you do in the garden here?
There's not really much you can do from April onwards. Because it's flowering time. That's when you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. You can perhaps fertilize again and prune citrus trees in May and June. Then comes summer, when the plants go dormant, so you should leave them alone and just water them.

What can be planted now, what later?
It's too late to plant, fall is better, from the end of October, because the rain comes right after that. The trees are now in the sap, because you can damage their bark when loading them. In Mallorca, most trees start to sprout at the end of January. You can still plant mastic bushes or creeping rosemary and small trees in containers, but only if you water them straight away. Palm trees are an exception: they should be planted in summer when it is nice and hot.

Tell us about a few undemanding yet attractive plants!
All Mediterranean plants that need little water and little pruning are grateful. This applies to many semi-shrubs, such as perovskias, which are valued as insect and bee pasture and also go well with angel hair grass.

Also undemanding yet attractive plants such as native maquis, rock roses, multiflora heath, butcher's broom, burnet, mastic bush, creeping rosemary and dwarf palm and wild olives. Tooth lavender, shrubby gamander, gaura, creeping rampion in purple or white go well with these. I also recommend purple bougainvillea, which have more flower volume and leaves than the white or pink ones and flower longer than the red ones.

Which plants are suitable for the garden of a vacation home in Mallorca?
Basically, you should make sure that there is always something blooming in the garden, then you can enjoy it no matter when you come. In summer, for example, agapanthus (ornamental lily), tulbaghia and rampion bloom. It is important to extend the flowering period with cleverly chosen plant combinations. You can plant tone-on-tone or play with complementary colors to create a nice tension. This works well with carpet plants, i.e. ground cover plants. They don't need water, but should be sprinkled early in the morning every two weeks in summer: Frankenia, sand thyme, ducat flower / coastal beach star, low yarrow and sedum. Succulent plants such as dragon tree agave, aloe, aonium and cacti are also suitable. And if you don't fancy weeding, cover the planting areas with crushed brick. This also looks good and retains moisture in the soil in summer.

Which plants are demanding and require a lot of care?
Roses require a lot of care. Before the leaves emerge, they need to be sprayed against powdery mildew and later, when it is warm and humid, against mildew. Then you have to cut them back after flowering so that new flowers appear, and you should water them early in the morning. On the other hand, roses do very well in Mallorca's clayey soil. Lavender, for example, likes acidic soil and little water in summer and has a hard time here, even though it is considered the typical Mediterranean plant. Mallorca is simply too hot for many plants, for example for cherry laurel, lilac or snowball and many perennials. I generally advise against lawns. It needs a lot of water, a lot of care and a lot of fertilizer.

How do you experience Mallorca as a planting location?
When designing a garden here, you have to take into account the proximity to the sea, i.e. the salt in the air. And the altitude is important: apple or pear trees, for example, can be planted well above 600 meters. Especially in elevated locations - i.e. on slopes, hilltops and in the south-east - the soil needs to be upgraded as it is very stony. A 40 cm layer of humus, sand and permeable, small-grained gravel is needed. And if you don't loosen the soil regularly, it will become as hard as cement. Anything native, on the other hand, can be planted directly, such as strawberry trees, rock roses, rosemary, olives or laurel.

Natural sun protection under the canopy

Tips from Andrea Lechte for your Mediterranean garden

1. roof-shaped pruned trees provide natural sun protection: Morus abla "Fruitless" or White Mulberry "Fruitless".
2. these evergreen hedges thrive very well: Abelia, Wild Olive, Australian Rosemary "Smokey", Natal Plum, Creeping Rosemary "Repens", Wintergreen Fragrant Olive Willow

Garden tours
Andrea Lechte offers guided garden tours and botanical walks, information on Tel: 667 313 997


Roof-shaped pruned trees as natural sun protection - Andrea Lechte - Mallorca
Green oasis in the lowlands - Hélène Lindgens

Hélène Lindgens: We create outdoor spaces.

Son Muda Gardens designs gardens for every taste, yet with its own signature style. Who Hélène Lindgens experience 15,000 square meters of diversity and creativity.

The private garden around Hélène Lindgen's home is also the company's calling card.

Who Hélèn Lindgens must always follow the green. From the country road that connects Felanitx with Villafranca de Bonany, turn right. Soon you will see lush vegetation next to bumpy paths and between flat fields. The garden designer's house is hidden behind the trees, shrubs and grasses. The Swiss designer lives there with her family and a pack of dogs. It was 15,000 square meters of overgrown land 13 years ago when Lindgens and her husband moved from Zurich to Mallorca.

Today, the former wasteland is an oasis. Water features, little walls, sculptures, hedges, trees, green spaces, meticulously cut and interestingly mixed plantings of light and dark, high and low adorn the property. Topiary shrubs grow here, jasmine sprawls there, and tall tufts of grass repeatedly poke out.

A "lawn" of rosemary grows at the edge of the path, behind it is a grove of elms, and further back is a large Peruvian pepper tree, whose decorative red berries are used as pink pepper in the kitchen. There are small shards of clay on the paths, the beds are covered in gravel, with plastic sheeting underneath. "No more weeds grow there," explains Lindgens during the tour.

She now has 65 gardeners and office staff with her gardening company Son Muda, and the team looks after numerous gardens on the island. "We give a twelve-month guarantee on all plants," says landscape architect Hans Achilles. As most customers come from Central and Northern Europe and only spend a few months a year on the island, maintenance is an important issue. "No matter when they come, they want to see an attractive garden." That's why Achilles likes to focus on green plants and works less with flowers, "because they leave gaps after their flowering period."

Harmony is best achieved with plants that like the Mediterranean climate. "It's ecological, saves work and is fun," says Lindgens. The team has created its own catalog with around 500 such plants, including 40 or 50 grasses alone, which are decorative all year round. All customers have one wish: They want to spend as much time outside as possible. "We see gardens as an extension of the home," says Hans Achilles, "which is why we create spaces with different qualities of experience."

Son Muda Gardens
Gardendesign & Projects

Hélène Alice Lindgens
Rebbergstrasse 115
8706 Meilen/Switzerland
Tel: +41 79 354 50 47

Diseminado Primera Volta, 180,
07209 Felanitx, Illes Balears
Tel: +34 671 669 001


Tips from
Son Muda Gardens

A portrait of Helen Lindgen - a gardener on Mallorca
Where to buy the native plants
Seeds for vegetables
The "Association for Native Varieties" sells sachets of seeds. By mail order on the website or by e-mail

The seeds are also available in selected stores, for example:

Botiga Es Sinfí in Manacor
Tel: 665-934 071
Magatzem C'an Dimoni in Felanitx
Tel: 971-58 18 56
Sa Tanqueta in Santanyí
Tel: 971-16 32 46

Seedlings, vegetables and herbs
Planters Ca Na Justa Camí de sa Pedrera s/n, Porreres.
Tel: 971-64 70 97.
Mon-Fri 8-13 and 15-18,
Sat 8-13 h

Planters i ornamentals Nicolau (also flowers) Ctra. Sant Joan-Vilafranca, km 3, Sant Joan.
Tel: 971-56-03-46.
Mon-Sat 8am-6pm

Viver Bio S'Estel de Llevant
Camí de Son Talent, km 2, Manacor.
Tel: 678-871 741

Native fruit trees
Vivers de Fruiters Joan Crespí
Parcela 110, near Búger.
Tel: 667-55 20 36
(Send Whats App to Crespí, he will then send the location).
Visit by appointment.

Vivers Llabrés Ctra. Palma-Manacor, km 45.5, Manacor.
Tel: 971-83 48 88
Mon-Sat 8am-7pm,

Gardening tips
Color - White flowers have a cooler effect than yellow and red ones. Shades of purple and pink have a relaxing effect. Plants with different shades of green go well together.

Combination - When combining plants, pay attention to the flowering time so that they do not all flower at the same time. Pay attention to the water requirements: Place plants with similar needs next to each other.

Note - Climbing plants flower in midsummer and quickly become lush. You shouldn't plant too many.

Design - Cacti, palm trees or strelitzia go well with simple new buildings, while olives, carob trees or mastic bushes are better suited to old houses. The following applies to detached houses: the part of the garden closer to the house should be tidy and well-tended. More distant parts of the garden can be wilder. This creates a harmonious transition to the surrounding countryside.

Planting time - Planting time for ornamental gardens is until the end of May.

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