People & Places
Seaside Garden: Come and See my Garden
Seaside gardening can be difficult because plants are exposed to the elements, they can die from salt pollution and get battered by strong winds. But Burke's Backyard recently visited a young seaside garden which is a triumph.
The garden slopes steeply towards a pebbly beach below with a surf beach nearby. The design is low growing plants and ground covers that won't be affected by the wind and leave the view unobstructed. The layout of timber terraces cascading down the slope initially looks a little stark, but after a few years the low growing shrubs and ground covers will hang over the terraces and soften the whole slope. Generous steps wind their way through the garden up to a beautiful beach home. The front garden and courtyard designs are slightly different from the backyard. Privacy is created in the courtyard that is out of the wind but which opens into the house.
Jan Braund, the owner and gardener, has experimented with a number of different plants in the backyard. The conditions were difficult so those that have survived would be recommended for other seaside locations. Another aspect of building a seaside garden is planting new plants that are small enough to become established before their height exposes them to the full force of the salt winds. Some of the outstanding plants in the garden include Australian natives like Sydney Golden Wattle (Acacia longifolia) and Coastal Banksia (Banksia integrifolia). Grey foliage plants have also grown well as many of them have protective hairs on the leaves. The grey foliage plants include lavenders especially Lavendula 'Sidonie', convolvulus and metrosideros, Cushion Bush (Leucophyta brownii) and Wormwoods (Artemesia) such as 'Lambrock Silver', 'Powis Castle' and 'Valerie Finnis'.
Other good flowering plants are the blue-purple Wallflower (Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve'), Arum lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) and Green Goddess lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica 'Green Goddess') and all varieties of iris, a varied range of daisies including; Aurora daisy (Arctotis hybrida), Native Daisy 'Mauve Delight' (Brachyscome), Veldt daisy (Dimorphotheca), Blue Marguerite Daisy (Felicia amelloides) and White Marguerite Daisy (Argyranthemum frutescens). Tiny cerise pink pig faces (Aptenia 'Baby Sunrose') and lotuses (Lotus maculatus) will soften the harsh timber edges.
Plants that failed and did not suit the seaside conditions included bougainvilleas, hebes, Leyland Cypress (X Cupressocyparis leylandii) and Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicicolia).
For more ideas on seaside gardening consult Seaside Gardening in Australia by Marcelle Monfries (Hamlyn Australia, ISBN 0 947 33440 8) is out of print but is available as a second-hand book from Florilegium Publishing, PO Box 644 Rozelle, NSW, 2039, phone: (02) 9571 8222 or Seaside Gardening by Theodore James Junior (Harry N Abrams Incorporation, ISBN 0 8109 4451 0).
Copyright CTC Productions 2006