Extreme Coastal Gardening
All gardens have a unique set of parameters that will determine whether or not a particular plant will thrive, merely survive or perish. Most of these, such as the amount of sunlight, soil type and drainage are fairly obvious and well documented. Other equally important parameters include the amount of time, energy and money you have to spend on your plot.
Living our ‘Simple Life of Luxury‘ here on the west Wales coast means we are affected by all of these parameters. Whilst I don’t want to sound hard done by (as I wouldn’t change it for the world) we do seem to experience some extremes that make gardening here very challenging.
Over the next few weeks I shall be publishing articles here looking inn a little more detail at some of the issues affecting gardening on the coast and offering some potential solutions, for now though a brief overview.
First up, the socio-economic side of things. As a young working family, money and time can be a little tight. Again, I’m not complaining as it is all a matter of priority but at this stage, for us, family and work tend to come before gardening when it comes to use of our resources. I shall be looking at ways around this in a future article.
Climate: Frosts are fairly rare here but can catch us out. Wind is common. In fact it is ALWAYS an issue and I shall be looking at wind resistant plants and ways to minimise wind damage and frost damage too.
Soil and Drainage: Our soil is sand. No, not sandy, just sand. Pure, simple beach sand! Drainage is therefore extremely good, too good in fact and it may actually be affected by the height of the tide!
Salt-laden air is also an issue, and in case you missed it earlier, it is also very windy here all of the time.
Most gardeners will have to pick plants suited to the individual parameters in their garden, but usually these will be slight variations from a fairly standard mid point. This means that the choice of plants is wide and often, even if a plant isn’t perfectly suited to the conditions it will still survive. Here, the conditions are extreme, right at the edge of the scale as far as the various parameters are concerned so choice of plants that will actually survive is limited. Finding a variety of readily available plants is difficult and achieving your perfect garden near impossible. However, it is possible to mould the environment to a certain extent and with a few compromises here and there lots of patience surprising results can be attained.
I don’t claim to have achieved this goal yet, but I’m working on it. Progress is gradual (This isn’t Ground Force as I’m not Alan Titchmarsh and Anna certainly isn’t Charlie Dimmock!) but progress is being made and the coming articles will chart this progress highlight the successes and the failures and hopefully give inspiration.