It’s been too hot to blog lately, too hot to do anything but lie in the hammock and read and plot new projects for the garden. Oh, and there’s been watering to do of course, endless, back-breaking watering. So this is not a post about the real beach; I haven’t been there for months, there are too many ‘staycationers’ swarming around on all my favourite beaches. But my shed looks like a beach hut and I have created a little beach all round it. It’s a pity there is no cool water to plunge into but I have a lot of blue flowers to cool me down. I have waves of blue agapanthus for the sea with white ones to represent the surf. OK, you have to squint at them and use your imagination to imagine it as the sea.
I have shells and fossils and stones which I have picked up over the years.
I even have a resident seagull.
I have a lovely sky blue flax to give me a taste of the holiday we had to cancel last month. We had planned to cycle the ‘Véloroute du Lin’ which follows the traditional flax route across Normandy. So instead of fields of blue I have this, which is pretty, but I would love to see fields of it.
I have fabulous Eryngium bourgatii ‘Picos Blue’ in metallic blue. I have seen this growing in sand dunes on Mediterranean beaches so it should be at home here in the gravel.
I like thistly plants and I have another one on my beach which is probably not particularly maritime, it comes from South Africa. I like its silvery lilac flowers and I love the spiky leaves. It is called Berkheya purpurea.
Bulbine frutescens is another South African plant, this time with fleshy leaves. I think it looks good growing in the gravel. I came upon it for the first time growing on a roundabout in France. To my shame, I risked the Pianist’s disapproval, death by being run over and angry gendarmes because I just had to have a tiny piece of it. Luckily it grows easily from tiny pieces and so I keep some in the greenhouse every winter as it is not hardy.
You often see sea campion on cliffs and I love any sort of campion. This is the variegated one, Silene uniflora ‘Druett’s Variegated’
The lovely starry lilac flowers are Tulbaghia violacea. It looks good with the eryngium foliage.
And yes, that is a foot below. In the foreground is another campion which seeds and spreads readily which is lucky because people are always asking for a bit.
I always knew of this as Silene uniflora but I think it may be called Silene maritima now.
I have it in pink too.
I don’t suppose camapanulas are particularly beachy but I love them, specially the little ones so I have a few dinky bells ringing in the gravel.
Other plants which are very much seaside plants are various kinds of Drift, Armeria maritima which bloom in early summer.
The horned Sea Poppy grows on beaches here in Suffolk and the native one is yellow. I love this orange one, Glaucium flavum var. aurantiacum. The flowers are pretty but now they are over. I have cut off all the stems and enjoy the lovely grey leaves.
Lined up outside my shed I have a selection of succulents. I seem to have a surprising number of these which is odd as years ago I didn’t even like them. I fell in love with them when I went to Tresco in the Scilly Isles. I associate them with seaside places after seeing them planted all over the cliffs at the open air theatre at Minack in Cornwall. I wish I had some cliffs to display them.
But the pièce de résistance of my beach in summer is the agapanthus. I grew them all from seed and they have all come out bigger and better than any of their parents. So here they are reminding me once again of Tresco where they have escaped from the gardens to roam about on the dunes.
So now I have shared my beach with you I am off to see what everyone else has been doing whilst I lazed in my hammock. If you live in the UK, I hope your gardens have survived the intense heat. And you too. There have been days when I nearly climbed into the goldfish pond to cool off.