Our Gardening guru, Charlie Albone, shares his top tips on setting up a coastal garden.
Coastal gardens suffer from strong winds and salt air so you need to choose plants that can withstand the elements. Windbourne salt acts like sandpaper, shredding the leaves and blocking the ‘breathing’ holes.
The best way to prevent this is to build a windbreak, such as a fence or wall but you can also use hardy salt tolerant plants and shrubs such as Escallonia and Rhaphiolepis as a natural windbreak. Plants have the advantage of binding the soil, reducing soil erosion.
Westringias are perfect; they can handle high temperaatures and salt in the air. When planint out a coastal garden, use plants like these as a buffer for your more tender plants.
It’s best to use plants that are native to the area and accustomed to local conditions, as in this garden.
Some drought tolerant plants can also thrive well, like this Protea. And planting them close together gives added protection from the elements.
Plants in coastal gardens can suffer from water shortage, even if there’s considerable rainfall. Sandy soils drain easily so add some organic material and mulch well to aid water retention. Seaweed is a great mulching material and free, but needs to be washed clean of the surface salt before you use it.
Coastal soil often has limited ability to retain nutrients so it’s essential to use slow release fertilizers, such as blood and bone to promote healthy growth. Good quality compost will add organic matter that improves soil structure. So by following a few simple tips, it’s possible to have a beautiful garden, even if you’re right by the sea.
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