|Coastal Gardening in the UK can represent quite a challenge but if you follow our simple tips and planting advice you will be able to manage whatever the weather and the elements throw at you.
This applies whether you have a sheltered south facing plot where you can grow Mediterranean or exotic plants or if your garden is exposed and open to the bitter Easterly and Northerly winds.
A variety of shrubs, hedges and trees should be planted or added to if there is already an infrastructure in place on which to build. Shrubs and hedges are essentially windbreaks in the coastal garden as well as being decorative. Hedges are better able to withstand gales than fences which get blown down and hedges filter the winds through them thus remaining intact. An ideal hedge for a sheltered border is Grisilenia Litoralis which looks very appealing even when just planted as a 2' shrub but comes into its own as a dense tallish hedge with light green evergreen foliage. It is very salt resistant as is Tamarisk (Salt Cedar) which is deciduous but very hardy with delicate feather like foliage with rose pink flowers in late summer. Other windbreak hedges to consider are Sea Buckthorn, Pittosporum and Escallonia or a mixture of all three.
Many types of trees will prosper in a seaside garden – Oaks, Sycamores, Horse Chesnuts and Walnut Trees to name but a few. However, the best by far either in a widely spaced row of six or seven or as one or two single specimens is Pinus Radiata (Monterey Pine). They are majestic trees with dark green lustrous needles. Fast growing they reach quite a height and once a few years old branches cut from them make excellent Christmas Trees with negligible needle drop.
As far as flower planting is concerned choose plants with bold, vibrant colours to maximise the light effect from the sea. Clumps of African Lillies (Agapanthas) thrive by the coast and self seed. They are ideal as a backdrop for formal planting. Silver foliage is excellent for coastal locations as the fine leaves of Senecio for example trap the salt spray. Look out for any kind of silver foliage plants in the garden centre as they will nearly all be of benefit.
Hard frosts are rare but if some delicate species are hit they will usually recover. Melianthus Major (the Honey Plant) is an architecturally striking largish shrub producing brown spikes in summer that are laden with a honey like nectar. Their cuttings are easy to propagate and establish quickly once planted out in another area of the garden.
If you are looking for a formal display in front of a garden room, conservatory or patio plant a row of Hydrangea shrubs mulched in with decorative bark to conserve moisture (Hydra – water in Greek) with a few palm trees at the back (Cordyline Australis ) for example. Once established this will create a Mediterranean ambiance. Do remember however that winds are very drying and dependent on what rock base your coastal plot sits water can drain away quickly especially on sandstone.
Heritage Gardens has a new range of Decorative Waterbutts for the Coastal Garden. As well as providing storage for the much needed water referred to above they are stylish Mediterranean garden ornaments. Introductory discounts available – call us on 0800 694 1841.
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