Having your own garden in Bulgaria – on the balcony or on land – is a point of pride, although the standards of the well-kept garden are different here. Lawns have never been a part of Bulgarian gardening and are still a very unusual sight in private gardens, a telltale sign that someone from England or Germany lives there. Bulgarians generally divide the green plot of the property into two parts – a flower garden and a vegetable garden, with the vegetable part prevailing. The family relies on it for fresh supplies in the summer and for home-made pickles in the autumn.
The flower gardens are a different matter – bright and colourful, they are well-kept and have many different kinds of flowers. Thanks to the special Bulgarian climate, most plants are in bloom from April to September, with the snowdrops opening in February and the chrysanthemums flowering till December. Keep the potted plants inside for the winter, but more resilient perennial flowers can very well survive outside – roses and peonies, for example. Add an exotic touch with chrysanthemums or orchids, or even spice up the look with a potted palm in the sunshine, and passers-by will certainly get flower envy.
Many flowers common to the Mediterranean can be found in Bulgaria. Almost every village or balcony garden has storksbills, called mushkato, in plenty of colours and patterns. The Bulgarian name of the flower comes from its maintenance – it means that wherever you stick it, it will grow. Plant nurseries do not pay much attention to it, but you can easily secure some branches just by asking the neighbours. Geranium also features heavily in Bulgarian gardens. Folklore has given it the name zdravets, as it is green for most of the year and is therefore supposed to guard against diseases and bring health. Consecrations of any kind in the Eastern Orthodox Church include a posy of geranium, used to sprinkle holy water with. Boxwood is a common sight, although it is rarely hewn to a certain shape.
A Bulgarian garden is not complete without at least one fruit tree. Peach, apricot, pear, fig and cherry trees enjoy widespread popularity in southern Bulgaria and along the Black Sea coast, where winters are milder. Walnut and apple trees grow in the whole country, sometimes even by the roadside. If you have a higher altitude garden, pines can make for good decoration all year round.
Raspberries and strawberries can be easily cultivated in dry and sunny places – and you will find they taste a lot more different if they are home-grown. It is up to you whether to make any preserve from the fruit come autumn; but if you decide to do so, call in help from the neighbours once again and have some fun listening to them argue about the best recipes.
Even if you only have a balcony, you can still have a beautiful garden in pots – the upside being you can plant tropical and subtropical flowers as well. Experiment with orange and lemon plants on a sunny terrace, or azalea and nasturtium on a shady one. Roses can get on well in pots. Choose a climbing rose if you have a trellis, or a small wild rose for cramped surroundings. In Bulgaria the most appropriate kind is Rosa damascena – the sweet-scented variety from which rose oil is produced, and which is grown in the Valley of Roses near Kazanlak.
Don't forget to make space for herbs and spices. Growing basil or rosemary and plucking fresh leaves goes a long way to making your dishes tastier. Plant thyme in a sunny spot and mint under the tree shade, and you can make your own bouquet garni. Bulgarian recipes make good use of spearmint and savoury, so add them to your collection if you plan on cooking beans or spicing your meatballs.
Not everybody has green fingers when it comes to gardening, but the solution to this problem is fairly simple: just call in the landscaping troops. There are obvious advantages to having a landscaping company on your side. Not only they can help you figure out what you need and how to use the space available, but they also supply exactly the plants you need and plan their placement, then maintain the design. Even the smallest piece of land can suffer a miraculous transformation. The crew of Bonsai can attest to that – they have designed and implemented projects for interior office decoration, roadside greenery, yards and hotel complexes. The company also offers maintenance by subscription, professional cleaning of outdoor areas through all seasons.
Work together with the landscaping team to make sure your wishes and needs are met. Add a green touch to your home, office, hotel or establishment with the experienced professionals from Green Project. They help the clients create an ecological and sustainable micro-environment with the solutions that fit them best, designing decorative trees and bushes, lawns and rock areas. The maintenance crew takes care of your garden by subscription and can also provide irrigation systems by international brands such as HUNTER Industries and Rain Bird.
When you have a larger area to design, consider planting trees and bushes. Although this kind of landscaping usually takes a few years to reach its full effect, foresight can ensure that your garden will look spectacular for a long time with very little care. Fito Design specialise in indoor and outdoor landscaping, large size plants and vertical planning. The designers are on hand even if you want something more creative, including water effects and rock corners. Leave the maintenance to the company and just enjoy – your garden has now turned into a piece of green paradise.