Teresa's Design Tips: Creating a Beach-view Octopus Garden

Octopus garden

Photo: teresa watkins

There is a great Beatles song, 'Octopus's Garden' that suggests a perfect theme for your summer beach gardening scene. What better way to bring the ocean into your own backyard ⸺ whether you live in Miami, Florida or Miami, Oklahoma ⸺ than to have a landscape that whisks you down under the sea to Neptune's tidal garden when your eyes behold it, and you don't even need to worry about the salt spray or getting sunburned.

 On a previous visit to the Discovery Gardens at the UF/IFAS Lake County Extension Discovery Gardens, I was thrilled to see an Ocean Reef Children's garden. The three bedding plants used to inspire the school children?s imaginations got my creative energies whirling and I thought,What a great theme!

To start, if you live by the seashore or close to the ocean, you need to know what plants will thrive in an alkaline, salt water location. A great resource for selecting salt-tolerant plants is by a local Florida beach city nursery, Rockledge Gardens.

But how does that help a land-locked sea dog gardener like you? If you don't have a beautiful beachfront landscape yet you yearn to lie on a beach towel and catch the rays in your own underwater paradise, put a conch shell to your ear and read on.

Here are some suggestions to help you create your own Octopus's Garden. I've selected a variety of flowers, shrubbery, trees, and groundcovers guided by Poseidon and maritime-sounding common names to invoke our undersea theme. How many do you recognize? Remember to make sure the sunlight, soil, zone hardiness, and moisture conditions are right for your own backyard before buying and installing any of these plants.

Flowers and Shrubs

Anemones, Anemone coronaria, also known as windflowers, are members of the buttercup family. But the sea anemones (get it?) are creatures whose brightly colored shapes and cluster of tentacles outwardly resemble terrestrial flowers. In your beach garden, anemones are flowering bulbs that will bloom in the spring and summer and like sunny areas in northern climes and partial shade in the South. Shrimp plants, Justicia brandegeana is a good choice. Put a few of these lovely butterfly and hummingbird-attracting flowers close to your Bar-bee. Bright yellow, greyish-green, or red flowers, these plants love the sun and are pest resistant.

To read the entire article at Teresa?s Horticultural Coaching: https://bit.ly/3IrXJaJ

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