Holiday Gardening -Monday, July 15, 2013
Can you tell I’ve been on holiday?
It is often with a sense of wonder that seaside gardens are generally overlooked as places of beauty, I suppose because we are so intent on enjoying a thin strip of sand or pebble as if it were the pinnacle of our holiday experience. Don’t get me wrong, I love the beach and love swimming in the great body of water that connects humanity. But, one cannot have ice-cream every day.
Personally, I love what the resolute and the inventive create, growing plants in what is one of the harshest environments we can attempt to grow anything in. There are the success stories, such as Derek Jarman’s garden at Dungeness or the majesty of the Rock Gardens at Southsea, in Portsmouth to name but two and well worth a visit. Then there are the small victories that go unnoticed, yet achieve something of the sublime and in their own way make all efforts worth a million days further inland. Of course one cannot grow acid loving plants in a place where alkaline salt rules the day, but do we need Camellias and Azaleas everywhere?
Whenever, I venture to the seaside, I always make it a rule to pay attention to the planting. Be it the habitual and architectural such as the Scots Pine and Holm Oak, to the fine feathery beauty of the Tamarisk, not forgetting the heat and colour of the Kniphofia and Rudbeckia – both favourites of the seaside. Or perhaps the delicate carpets of Sea Thrift or Osteospermum catch your eye. But we in the UK have such varying micro-climates, we are lucky to explore many different styles, from the sub-tropical Scilly Isles and Scottish west coast, to the semi-arid Suffolkcoast and the wind blasted North East.
Basically, rather than me giving you a lecture on how to create your very own seaside garden in the hills of Derbyshire, I ask of you one thing. Keep your eyes peeled. You may find a gem of undeniable beauty hidden away behind an Escallonia hedge.