Areas that experience high winds on the coast, like Adelaide’s suburbs, can make it quite difficult to create a stunning garden. However, it isn’t impossible. You need to pick the right plants as there are quite a few that are able to withstand the harsher conditions of coastal gardens. So, even if you live right on the coast and have to deal with incredibly windy summers and a high salt content in the air, you can still have a great garden.
The key to success with Coastal Gardens: plan wisely
The key to creating a beautiful garden lies in planning. The better you plan, the more beautiful your garden will be. This is especially true for people who live in habitats that are not always conducive to plant life. While some plants are able to thrive in any conditions, there are many that need a gentler environment than Adelaide’s high winds and salt spray. However, there’s no need to despair because there are ways to achieve your dream garden.
Firstly, you need to look at your front garden, which is the area that is most exposed to these harsh conditions. Here, you need to consider hardier plants that can tolerate the wind and salty air. At the Jungle in Willunga, we have a variety of plants that are perfectly suited to the harsher conditions of coastal gardens.
We have a variety of palms, yuccas and waxy leaved shrubs which not only tolerate Adelaide’s salt winds but actually thrive in coastal gardens. If you’re also looking for some ground coverage, we offer a variety of grasses and other plants that can easily cope with these conditions.
If you want a garden that’s a little different and are worried about periods of drought, we stock Dragon Trees, Bird of Paradise and Aloe Trees, which are perfect for Adelaide’s coastal environment but are also drought resistant.
Bird of Paradise
Stretilizias: What cool plants! Those wild flowers and architectually designed plants are perfect for Adelaide. The flowers have a real tropical edge, looking a lot like gingers or heliconias, but originally they come from South Africa. They give a a big splash of colour over winter and spring, and survive our hot, dry summers with minimum water. Common Bird of Paradise grows to a clump about 1.5m high, but there is a dwarf version which is about 1m tall and a new yellow flowering variety called Mandela Gold.
I really struggle to like Yuccas, because I’ve been poked in the eye too many times! However, this family of plants are fantastic for low maintenance and cruel conditions, such as windswept hilltops or coastal cliffs. They will survive extraordinary neglect! There are many varieties of Yucca including this small 1m high Yucca desmettiana aka Spellbound. Originating in north and central America, they are now very popular in regions which are also hot and dry, obviously needing very little water or care throughout either summer or winter.
Dragon and Aloe Trees
Dragon Trees are similar to the common Yucca, but the foliage is greyer and less spiky. They will eventually grow multiple heads and be a large spreading tree, after about 100 years (photos show the difference between 3 yrs and 100!) Aloe Trees are another large succulent which can look dramatic once established. They are tough as a boot and make a great feature in an arid, difficult garden.
Palms and Cycads
There are a few palms that cope well with harsh, coastal conditions. Our favourites are Dwarf Date Palms, Wine Palms and Cocos. Dwarf Date Palms grow to about 3-4m. Cocos and Wine Palms are larger, have statuesque trunks to 6m and are both very cold tolerant. We have all 3 varieties growing in our Jungle in Willunga, now over 20 years old, and I’ve even seen them growing in a park in Hahndorf which gets down to -2* in winter! Cycads offer a tropical feel to your garden, being a beautiful feature plant. They are very tough and slow growing and tolerate all conditions.
And how about this for a beautiful, tough and coastal loving Groundcover? It’s name is Scaevola and it grows very well in our Adelaide conditions giving pretty lavender flowers over much of the year.
What about my Tropical Paradise?
You don’t have to give up hope. You can still create your very own tropical paradise, but you’ll have to do it behind your home. The enclosed space will provide protection for your plants so that the winds and salt spray won’t affect them. Thus, you can create your very own tropical paradise, using any of the large variety of plants we offer.
If you don’t like the look of your fence, for example, consider one of the various courtyard bamboos we offer. These bamboos can be planted close to the fence and their limited clumping area ensures they won’t take over your yard while still masking the fence so you can enjoy a view of luscious green foliage.
To really make things tropical, consider planting some of the various species of palms and cycads we stock. You can get a good idea of what a palm forest looks like by visiting our nursery.