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Windy seaside garden

Posted by MauraO SE Alaska (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 7, 05 at 11:13

My husband and I are building a new house, and starting from scratch with building soil where salmonberries used to cover a bank down to the water. I put a red laceleaf Japanese maple at the top of the bank, and planted astilbe and hosta below it, but the hostas look like they're drying out from too much wind.

Any suggestions on what would stay fairly low growing (under 2 ft.) tolerate wind, water, winter temps fluctuating from mid teens to mid forties, lots of rain?

Thanks for your input.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Windy seaside garden

You not only have a wind issue, but a SALT issue. There are few more hostile environments for plants than an ocean front site. You are really looking for a ground cover at that size. There are many low growing junipers that would do very well for you in this location.

RE: Windy seaside garden

ALASKA only has low temps in the teens??? What zone are you in? How much sunlight? I agree with lol that salt may be your major issue, and one that makes your choices much narrower. Salt kills a lot of plants, so start your search from there.

In general, plants with smaller leaves are more drought tolerant as they lose less moisture from wind etc. Same goes for "gray" colored plants such as Lavender & Russian Sage. Good luck & best wishes, more info may help get you better answers. Doupt many of us garden in Alaska!

RE: Windy seaside garden

Here's a website that covers our maritime climate.

We're similar to the Seattle area, but we get much more rain and slightly cooler temperatures year round.

I figure a plant for zone 6 will survive here if it can tolerate repeat freeze/thaw cycles and wet roots.

Because of the heavy rainfall, I don't think salt build-up is an issue here. At the end of our season we routinely pile 6" of seaweed on the gardens without rinsing it, and it gets well flushed by fall rains. That's my plan for soil building this fall.

I have SW exposure on this bank, but rhododendrons do well here in full sun because we don't get enough heat to damage them.

So, I'm thinking about some of the smaller leaved rhodies for the upper section of the bank, and prostrate cotoneaster where it's steep to help hold the soil. I's also like to use some non-invasive grasses, and I love the idea of using herbs!

Thanks for the suggestions, and I'm open to more.

RE: Windy seaside garden

Wow! Did I say 6 feet of seaweed? I meant 6 inches.

RE: Windy seaside garden

MauraO -
Hello, I live about 100 steps from the Atlantic ocean, south of Boston, MA in Zone 6a.
Here's a list of plants that I would consider hardy for you. Also you might want to think of most glaucous plants being adaptable to a cold, seaside environment.
They are:
Potentilla sp.
Ceratostigma plumbagnoides
Dwarf Sorbus
Spiraea jap. 'Gold Mound'
French Tarragon - does very well for us, and stands of it look very "grassy" when kept divided.

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