Plants for costal gardens

On warm summer evenings at this time of year gardening along the coast of Donegal can seem like a very inviting prospect. However before drawing up a plan or selecting plants for a costal garden we must remember that summers can be short and winter storms are never that far away. With this in mind we must remember that any plants we select for costal regions must be very tough to survive.
   Plants in costal gardens have to bear the worst of the winter storms. If this wasn’t bad enough they also have to cope with the scorching salt spray that these high winds bring with them. Thankfully its not all bad news however as costal gardens have a number of advantages. The proximity of a garden to the sea will remove the risk of hard frosts, allowing you to grow tender plants that would not survive even a couple of miles inland. At the coast there is also usually more light available for sun loving plants. The advantages of costal gardens will also be greatly increased if an effective windbreak is put in place.
   When planning a costal garden an effective windbreak should be your first priority. While walls and fences are fairly instant features in the garden and are quite good at blocking high winds they tend to deflect the wind and don’t have the same filtering effect that a living hedge does. An established hedge in a seaside garden can give protection for five times its height in its shadow, and will greatly increase the range of plants that you can grow.
   If you are unsure what plants to buy for your costal garden there are a number of ways that you can get an idea of what would be likely to survive. The most obvious way of doing this is to take a look at plants in other gardens in your immediate area and take note of what seem to be thriving. If you have any doubts about the suitability of plants you can always ask for advice in your local garden centre as they should be able to point you in the right direction.

Below is a short list of plants that usually do very well along the harsh Donegal coast line:

Ornamental Grasses
Hardy Geranium
Lady’s Mantle
© Copyright, Highland Landscapes, Letterkenny, 2008.