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If your garden is very close to the sea, the salt-laden winds can cause devastation to a garden.  Therefore I would not recommend planting anything until at least one or two lines of defence have been provided.  These can be walls or fences, but in my opinion it is better to use trees or shrubs to give a wind filtering hedge or two. It is best to stagger two rows of hedging to help prevent wind turbulence that can cause havoc.  Trees such as pines and Acer Platanoides can be used in larger gardens for this purpose.  In smaller plots, salt tolerant shrubs can be used such as Tamarix, tetranda, Euonymous Japonicus and Escallonias to help to provide this barrier. Once this defence has been established, it is then time to start using some of the more ornamental, salt tolerant shrubs and perennials.  It is some of these that I have chosen below as amongst my favourite plants for this purpose.

Hibiscus syriacus ‘Oiseau Bleu’

When most other shrubs and perennials have finished their summer stint, that is when this Hibiscus bursts into bloom and provides a stunning, tropical looking display from late summer to mid-autumn. Even it’s pretty leaves appear late at the end of spring.

Agapanthus africanus Twister (‘Ambic001’) (PBR)

A new African Lily with delightful, bicoloured blooms in late summer.  Strap shaped leaves give contrast to other foliage types.

Erigeron karvinskianus ‘Lavender Lady’

Possibly one of the longest flowering plants I know, it just blooms it’s socks off!  The lavender coloured blooms of this cultivar appear from at least May to October, if not longer. Forms a weed smothering carpet in sunny spots.

Abelia floribunda

The arching branches of this lovely shrub are laden with tubular pink flowers in summer.  Ideal against a warm sunny wall.

Elaeagnus ‘Quicksilver’

An ideal foliage shrub for dry soils and salty air.  Wonderful metallic silver leaves are its main attraction, but tiny, inconspicuous yellow flowers provide scent in summer. Loves a sunny spot.

Fuchsia ‘Army Nurse’

From June to October this Fuchsia gives a continuous stream of semi-double blooms on compact stems.This hardy bush variety needs a warm sheltered spot.

Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Tom Thumb’

One of only a few evergreen purple leaved shrubs, this compact, rounded form provides great contrast to other plants.

Cordyline australis ‘Pink Star’

With it’s eye-catching, evergreen foliage this plant will gradually lose it’s lower leaves forming a trunk like a palm tree. Can be used in pots or borders. The green leaved variety of this shrub are a seaside favourite on the south coast of England.

Cistus × pulverulentus ‘Sunset’

This Mediterranean shrub, sometimes known as the rock rose, is drought-tolerant and low maintenance.  Loves a sunny spot.  In midsummer, the plant will be covered in magenta blooms with a yellow eye. A low, spreading compact habit and evergreen foliage.  Ideal for pots or borders.

Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’

Named after a famous Gloucestershire garden, this silver leaved, compact beauty has perhaps the darkest blooms of all the English lavenders. As a bonus, the foliage is highly scented.  A great magnet for the bees and other pollinating insects that are so vital in our gardens.

To view these and many other seaside plants at Crocus click here

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Mark Snelling

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