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16 October 2014
Gardener's Corner

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Winter 2009

Visit 1
John Cushnie'Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside' - but if you are a gardener it isn’t all plain sailing.

Lee and Noel have a new house 200 yards from the North Down coast at Groomsport. The back garden faces
North and the sea with one wall getting early morning sun and the bottom of the garden blessed with sun in the evening.

BBC Radio Ulster’s Gardeners’ Corner team will, over the next 6 months, help make a pile of soil (not sand) into a garden.

At the moment neither Lee or Noel are gardeners. We have high hopes for Lee. Noel will, like any sensible man, do as he is told and learn to enjoy it.

There are advantages and disadvantages to gardening close to the coast. The trick is to work round the problems and make the most of the good points.

The climate is the big difference when compared to an inland site. It is generally milder in winter with fewer frosts but wind and even gales are more likely. Salt carried on the wind is deposited on
leaves causing scorch damage.

A common mistake is to block the wind with a solid wall or fence. It still comes over the top causing extra turbulence inside the garden. It is better to filter the wind using tough plants tolerant of
salt sea spray as a first line of defence. Behind these a wonderful range of plants may be grown including many which would be too tender to grow outside in less favoured areas.

Lee has an interest in ornamental grasses but we haven’t introduced her to tamarix, yucca and lavender -yet.
Noel has a heavy work load before we return. Excavation, spreading hardcore and building a dry stone wall. He has a month to do it with Lee supplying cups of tea!!

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