Wild Coastal Flower

We thought we’d share with you some excerpts from a Dobies of Devon article published in the February/March edition of the English Riviera magazine down here in sunny Torbay. The brief was to give some guidance as to what gardening jobs to do at the time of year and also what plants would be best suited to a coastal garden. So, although you may not live in Torbay the following may be useful, especially if you live on any stretch of the UK’s 17,820km coastline!

Review and Plan
At this time of year gardening is often more about sitting down with a cup of tea and planning rather than actually getting out there with wellies, trowel and enthusiasm.

The weather will dictate how much gardening we can do and there really is no point braving it on wet or icy days as you’ll just compact the soil and cause more harm than good. Planning is rarely time wasted and will result in maximum use of the space available with plants growing happily in the right place, producing flowers, fruits or veg in abundance.

So, have a think about what worked well in the garden last year and what perhaps needs improving. What colours contrasted or complimented each other and what new plants would you like to try in this year’s tubs and hanging baskets? From the veg patch what did you enjoy eating and what did you simply grow too much of? If you are in need to inspiration then have a browse round the Dobies of Devon website at www.dobies.co.uk or call and request a catalogue.

Growing from Seed
To give yourself a head start you can bring your gardening indoors and use a heated greenhouse, windowsill and/or conservatory for raising seedlings. Late February and into March is prime time for raising plants from seed – the cheapest and possibly most rewarding way of filling your garden with plants.

Dobies of Devon recently came top in a vegetable seed trial conducted by Which? Our onsite seed testing laboratory and trial grounds at Occombe take the risk out of seed sowing. All you need do is check on the seed packet for sowing dates and follow the detailed instructions.

Plants for Coastal GardensLavender in the bay
Coastal gardening can be tricky with plants struggling to cope with wind and salty air so again some planning and research is needed. Tough plants are needed such as tamarisk, heather, lavender, sedum and California poppy. Sea pinks are perfect for coastal gardens and can be easily grown from seed sown from mid-February onwards as can Red Hot Pokers.

Many vegetables are well suited to coastal gardens especially brassicas and cruciform. Those most tolerant of salty air include beets, kale, spinach and asparagus but potatoes, cabbage, peas and broccoli will perform well.

If you like the look of a plant but are unsure as to whether it will be suitable for a coastal garden then check out the leaves. Tough, leathery and/or hairy leaves are a good sign as they will reduce moisture loss and protect against salt. Another option is to take a look in the beautiful public spaces around the Bay plus take a peek in your neighbours’ gardens and see what grows well for them. Chances are it will do the same for you.

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