Monday, 26 July 2010

Behind The Scenes - Coastal Dune Garden - Follow Up

I mentioned in a previous post on a Coastal Dune Garden we completed, that I would follow it up with some photos, so here they are:

This is where we started - no level area. Trees screened the house in front, but also blocked the view.

Berms now hide the house below, and give additional height for the plants to grow on. The area, now level, provides ample room and gives a feeling of space and openness.

Aloe vanbalenii, is one of my favourite aloes. The amazing changes in colour of its leaf from apple green to burnt red is only just surpassed by its spectacular flowers. When they're grouped together they look their best. I used mainly succulents on the front of the 'dunes' because of their neat look, and easy maintenance. They handle the wind and poor soil normally associated with beachfront properties.

Behind the dunes, I planted swathes of grass, to create a soft backdrop to the 'harder' looking succulents. I also wanted the grass to create movement, almost like water washing against the beach.

I interspersed the grass with Eucomus, Gladiolus, and Watsonia which will create little spots of colour in amongst the predominantly Melinis nerviglumis grass. Watsonia is quite rare, and on the endangered list, so I try and use it wherever I can, and as close to its natural habitat as possible.

Behind the grass, I planted Plumbago, and a pocket of Leonotus leonurus, which the vervet monkeys are apparently loving. Sunbirds are also a common visitor to the spires of nectar-filled orange flowers, which remind me of little miniature fireworks.

Round-leafed Kalanchoe thyrsiflora is nestled in between the large rocks that we placed close to the top of the dunes. We really sweated while trying to manouvre these massive stones down to the lower garden without damaging them, ourselves or anything else.
Although rocks are seldom found on actual dunes, they do create an immediate sense of permanence to the garden, that the plants will eventually grow into.

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