Beach Gardening

Gardening at the beach is a challenge! The salty breezes, bright sunlight and sandy soil seem to make gardening all but impossible. But for the imaginative gardener willing to put in a little effort, the beach has wonderful possibilities. The key to gardening at the beach is to work with the beach and with the existing elements, rather than trying to fight it or force the wrong plants to grow in its harsh elements. Which are the right plants? Let's see!
Creating The Landscaping First, take advantage of the natural materials the beach area provides for landscaping. Large shells, sea-weathered rocks, and driftwood can all be used when laying out your beach garden. If you are directly on the beach, the dunes, palms and sea oats can become a part of your garden plan. When using materials provided by nature, be sure to wash the salt thoroughly off before placing them in a garden bed or lining a bed with them.

Be aware that the salt spray and harsher sun at the beach don't affect just plants. Any garden furniture or sculpture or other extras will have to be chosen for their appropriateness to the area. Wood benches, gates and fencing may have a shorter life span. Metal poles, flag poles and art objects may weather unattractively or develop an interesting patina. Use as much natural material as possible.
Preparing the Soil Even plants that like a sandy soil may need additional nutrients. Prepare planting beds carefully and in some cases consider container grown plants. Large containers can be prepared with growing medium and buried in the bed for more particular plants so that salt does not leach into the soil. Don't forget to put holes in the bottom of the container for drainage. Container grown plants, and most plants at the beach, require more water.
Choosing Your Plants In spite of the direct sunlight, roses do not typically do well at the beach. But there are still plenty of plants to choose from. Ground covers that do well include wedelia, creeping fig and dichondra. Flowering shrubs such as lantana, confederate jasmine and oleander are a good choice. Bougainvillea works well as a direct planting and in hanging planters. Hibiscus will bloom profusely in your beach garden and many ferns will thrive if given enough water.
There are also a number of trees that handle the beach well. These include live oak, palms, cedar, and some pines. A variety of beach grasses can be planted as a border or a transitional plant between the dunes and the start of your cultivated beds.
Become an expert beach gardener with these books! Click below to order.

Gardens by the Sea:
Creating a Tropical...

Tropical Garden Design
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