Summer can be a thoughtful time for gardeners. First, we see the results of planning and planting in prior years as the plants grow and flower. Second, we naturally tend to think about what might have been—if only I’d planted five of those lilies instead of three; if only the deer hadn’t eaten down that rose; if only the croquet game on the 4th of July had not seen five children tromping (and bashing) through the rhododendrons to get their balls back to the playing field; if only . . . Third, we contemplate what truly different kinds of gardens might be like. Autumn is a good time to revise and replant gardens, which intensifies thoughtful planning during the summer.
|Yellow sand verbena, Abronia latifolia, lives in open blowing sand areas on the beaches, and has showy bright yellow flowers. Not for a garden with improved soils, sand verbena is happiest in open sand.|
One is to plant species that are truly salt, wind and rain tolerant, using those plants that thrive right along the ocean.
|Beach fleabane, Erigeron glaucus, is a low-growing daisy with pink to lavender flowers.Beach fleabane, Erigeron glaucus, is a low-growing daisy with pink to lavender flowers.|
Two is to revise gardens to make them ocean friendly. A program of Surfrider Foundation, ( http://www.surfrider.org/programs/entry/ocean-friendly-gardens) ocean friendly gardening is being actively promoted in California. Prolonged drought in that state is driving a serious rethink of the lawn plus shrubs and perennials approach, also called ‘mow, chop and blow’.
Three is to rethink water needs, and shift to native plants that do not need summer water and live only with rainfall; this is called xeriscaping in drier climates.
These approaches share a focus on water retention, soil building, use of compost and mulches, use of native and drought tolerant plants, and reducing hard surfaces to improve permeability.
|Beach lupine, Lupinus litoralis, lives in open sandy areas along the beach, and like sand verbena really prefers very sandy soils.|
|Yarrow, Achillea millefolium, grows in large patches, in the dunes, saltmarshes and seacliffs. Closely related species are pink, red, yellow and other colors, and all grow well on shorelines.|
|For wetter sites, gumweed, Grindelia integrifolia, has buttery yellow daisy flowers in late summer.|
|One of the toughest native shrubs, salal, Gautheria shallon, grows on seacliffs and in dunes, with pink flowers and dark blue berries, and lovely evergreen foliage.|
|Black twinberry, Lonicera involucrata, is a tough deciduous shrub with yellow flowers and brid-friendly black berries.|
|Seawatch, Angelica lucida, lives on seacliffs, in dunes and salt marshes; four to six feet tall when flowering, plants are host to Anise Swallowtail butterfly larvae.|