Gardens near the seaside tend to be disadvantaged by dry soil and salty winds. Nevertheless, it is still possible to plant a colourful and interesting garden.
Indeed, maritime conditions are often warmer in the Winter than those further inland so it is often possible to grow slightly more exotic species. However, it is first a good idea to add some quality topsoil and compost to the soil before planting. As sandy soil does not retain moisture and nutrients well the new topsoil and compost will give your plants a better start and thus enhance their chances of long term survival. Even so, some plants are particularly ill suited to a maritime climate. Conifers and especially the Chamaecyparis types, will often turn brown due to the dry soil and drying effects of the wind. Rhododendrons find the soil too limey. However, the dwarf varieties can be grown successfully in containers with ericaceous compost in sheltered parts of the garden.
At Dunscar you will find we have grouped together a show garden of several plants we recommend as suitable for seaside gardens. We particularly recommend the following 6 Good Seaside Performers.
For fragrance – “Choisya ternata”
Often called “Mexican Orange Blossom” because of its sweetly scented white flowers that appear in late Spring to early Summer and often again in the Autumn, this is a useful evergreen for sun or shade.
For screening – “Griselinia littoralis”
An evergreen with bright green foliage, this makes an excellent hedge or screen and is a useful plant for brightening up a mixed shrub border. There is also a variegated form that is slightly slower growing.
For climbing – “Hydrangea petiolaris”
“Climbing Hydrangea” is a very hardy, self clinging climber that flowers white in June and gives another display in the Autumn when the leaves turn golden-yellow. It is a good choice for a shady wall and also thrives well in full sun.
For colour – “Escallonia ‘Gold Ellen’”
This plant will brighten up any border. It produces bright, golden foliage all year round, decorated with cerise pink flowers in the Summer.
For contrast – “Berberis thunbergii ‘Harlequin’”
The small leaves are purple-pink in the Spring and as the season progresses they become heavily splashed with cream and then turn red before falling in the Autumn. It is a good companion for a bright, golden shrub to give a striking contrast.
For ground cover – “Ajuga reptans ‘Burgundy Glow’”
This is a creeping evergreen perennial with silvery-grey leaves, heavily marked purple and red. It is suitable for a rockery, poolside and path edging. It produces blue flower spikes in early summer and is often used in containers for mixed autumn displays. It is a useful plant for most poor soils. Although it enjoys full sun it also tolerates some shade.