Gardening by the Ocean
Maintaining a garden in an ocean front location is not all blooming hibiscus and scented plumeria. Extreme conditions such as high winds and drought can play havoc on the sturdiest landscape. When planning your ocean front garden, you need to do you homework. Here are some flowers that love to bloom in the toughest of environments.
Rugosa Rose: This Siberian native knows all about tough climates. the Rosa rugosa endures extreme temperature shifts, drought, wind and salt spray. Expect scented blooms from string to fall accompanied by colorful rose hips that will attract the birds.
Lavender: A hearty plant in most climates, and tolerates sandy soil well. Position the plant in front of your roses for a fragrant walkway. The bushy shrub also hides the bare rose stems.
South American Verbena: This is a nice complement to your lavender with its showy lavender/purple blooms on stems that can extend up to 6 feet tall. Butterflies love this plant.
Daylily: These do well in most climates and have a variety of colors and patterns to choose from. When not in bloom, their grassy foliage makes a nice border.
Hydrangeas: This delicate looking plant is actually a pretty tough cookie and doesn’t mind wind and salt. It’s wise to plant it in a partially shaded area where it will get the morning sun and afternoon shade. Set up an irrigation drip for this one, hydrangeas don’t tolerate drought very well. To keep it blooming, trim off the old flowers as soon as they start to fade.
Ever wonder why some hydrangeas have bright blue blooms and others are pink? It all has to do with the amount of acidity in the soil – the more acid, the bluer the flower, the less acid, or more alkaline, and the pinker the bloom. Use aluminum sulfate to increase acidity and dolomitic lime to decrease it.
Juniper: This is a hearty evergreen that adds color and texture to your garden year round. Choose from blue, green or gold foliage, and tall or creeping styles of plant. The low growing selections work well in sandy rock gardens or for erosion control on hilly areas.
Wintercreeper: This is a hearty groundcover that still looks great in the winter with its variegated leaf.
Portulaca: This is a popular plant commonly found along walkways at the beach. You can forget to water it, expose it to wind and sea spray and it will respond with colorful blooms. Its trailing flowers make a nice accent in an ocean facing window box. Although it is an annual, it will generally self seed.
Yarrow: Also considered a herb for its medicinal qualities, yarrow will endure, sun, rain, cold, drought and wind. It comes in a variety of colors such as yellow, orange, pink and white. Plant it in a spot where you can keep an eye on it, yarrow loves to spread its roots and wander.
Gaillardia: This colorful flower blooms from summer to early winter, resists drought and doesn’t balk at sandy soil. It’s brightly colored blooms attract butterflies and make perfect cut flowers.
Cuphea: This is the new kid on the block and what an interesting plant it is. It has bright red crinkly petals with purple middles that bloom non-stop in the hottest, dryest, salt and wind blown conditions. Keep it moist and fertilized, and you will be assured of constant color all season.