It’s a shore thing

shore thing
The Sea Garden is a tiny border against the east facing wall of an extension tacked on to our house. There are distant views of the sea and soon after moving in we made it pretty by adding seaside plants, shingle mulches and shells. Two things went wrong. Plants like sea statice, seakale and, to an extent, sea holly need good drainage and on clay soil, during wet winters, they eventually rotted away. Then we had to dig a channel quickly to repair some leaking pipes and the border more or less disappeared.
While working at a gardening show last year I had a mad moment and bought an ornamental octopus made of wire and beads. Everyone else in the family says it’s ghastly, but I like it and will use it to provide a little much-needed inspiration for the resurrection of my Sea Garden.
 
Getting the all-clear
This is a good time of the year to get the clearing done, so we took down the dead stem from what had been a 20ft (6m) high cordyline, removed old foliage from a montbretia (the robust and fiery Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’) and dealt with the big weeds. I haven’t seen any signs of chalara (ash dieback disease) near the garden and ash seedlings germinate here wherever they can. We weed them out while still small but sometimes miss the awkward ones whose roots find a safe anchor beneath some concrete and are impossible to grub out.
From autumn to winter is ideal for cutting down unwanted saplings and applying a glyphosate-based stump killer to the freshly cut surfaces. (You need to get on with this quickly before sap starts to rise.) The instructions usually tell you to make a cross in the surface, apply the product and then cover with polythene to keep the rain off.
Our enormous and venerable Swiss cheese plant thoroughly enjoyed the house plant programme of the Great British Plant Revival shown on Chanel Four just before Christmas. He(strictly it) loved the orchids and streptocarpus but wondered why no plants were shown growing inside their homes – they were all in greenhouses, polytunnels or even outdoors.
He would like to add how much he likes living in our sitting room listening to conversations, watching TV and hanging out with his pals Medinilla and Adiantum. He’s doing his best to join in with family life and has even sent out aerial roots to act as tiebacks for the curtains.
 
DEALING WITH LARGE WEEDS
 
shore thing
1.    ASH SAPLINGS
Grub out unwanted ash saplings or treat freshly cut surfaces with a glyphosate-based stump killer
 
shore thing

2.    UNWANTED IVY
Ivy can be highly invasive and requires constant pulling back or weeding out to keep it in check

shore thing
3.    BOTHERSOME BRAMBLES
Brambles are removed by
digging their roots out using a
spade with a V-shaped blade

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