Friday, August 12, 2011

Next Wave Planting Lists Published - come on you seaside gardeners

The planting Scheme for Bexhill on Sea’s West Parade promenade has created a 600m long mixed herbaceous border that defines a series of gardens rooms along the entire length of the seafront. The garden rooms are characterised as ‘eating’, ‘playing’ and ‘relaxing’ rooms each designed and equipped to reflect their intended activity within a floriferous gardenesque setting. In total 31 garden rooms were created.

The design of the planting has been developed specifically to thrive in unique physical, climactic condition of this exposed coastal location only six metres inland from the beach facing the English Channel:

The selection of species and mixes of cultivars has been carefully crafted to work with the existing environmental conditions of the site ie a public realm environment with persistent winds, full sun, occasional salt spray and light, impoverished sandy soils.

The design team comprised HTA landscape Design and architects Dr Noel Kingsbury as horticultural advisor with colours inspired by artist Allison Turnbull’s study of coastal coloration commissioned for the project.    

The brief for the planting design was:

·         A planting mix that will thrive in the extreme coastal location
·         To introduce biodiversity
·         Create visual interest for as much of the year as possible
·         A scheme that will require minimal on-going maintenance
·         Colours and forms which complements the setting of the De La Warr Pavilion

The natural vegetation of many Mediterranean climate zone coastal regions is taken as a model: tough wiry low sub-shrubs, interspersed with grasses, and physically robust herbaceous plants. Exposure to wind, sun and drought are well tolerated.

Using this vegetation type as a model, a planting mix would aim at approximately 70% sub-shrubs1 to form a physically tough and visually dominant matrix, with approx. 15% herbaceous and 15% ornamental grasses.

The planting mix has distinct integral aesthetic advantages – the majority of shrubby species are evergreen, with attractive grey or silver foliage, their fine textured foliage is attractive without being too prominent, while most of the grassy species proposed are also evergreen.

Five 'planting mixes' were created, each one composed of a mix of visually complementary species, and fitting one of two height categories: above 60-150cms and below 60cms.

Certain species used are common to several mixes, and the overall visual texture and foliage colour is similar, ensuring continuity and repetition.

Each mix can be used as a block, or band within a strip planting, or a drift within an extended area.
Plant varieties within each mix are, to a large extent, blended, to create a soft naturalistic look, and to avoid the blocky effect of conventional amenity plantings.

A number of larger grasses are used for scattering throughout the plantings to create rhythm and continuity. Grasses will also create movement.

Hedges have been formed to define spatial hierarchy and manage accessibility.  

Blocks of Rosa rugosa, a highly suitable group of plants for the environment, but potentially aggressively spreading, are used to create blocks of contrasting foliage colour in situations where their spread can be minimized.

Planting Lists: Next Wave Bexhill on Sea


Cistus pulverulentus 'Sunset'
Cistus x dansereaui  decumbens
Cistus x purpureus 
Cotoneaster microphyllus
Cytisus 'Burkwoodii'
Cytisus x kewenensis
Euonymus Japonicus 'Microphyllus Aureovarigs
Grisellinia littoris
Olearia traversii
Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Tom Thumb'
Rosa Rugosa 'Alba' & Rosa Rugosa 'Rubra'
Rosmarinus officinalis  'Prostratus'
Spiraea Japonica 'Goldflame'

Herbaceous, Perrenial and sub shrubs

Achillea 'Moonshine'
Agapanthus Headbourne Hybrids
Artemisia absinthium
Artemisia ludoviciana 'Silver Queen'
Aster x frikartii ‘Mönch’
Ballota pseudodictamnus
Brachyglottis monroi 'Brookside'
Bupleurum fruticosum
Cistus 'Silver Pink'
Convolvulus cneorum
Crambe cordifolia
Crocosmia 'George Davidson'
Dierama Pulcherrium
Eryngium bourgatii
Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii
Euphorbia cyparissias
Euphorbia x martinii
Geranium 'Orion'
Geranium sanguineum
Geranium x oxonianum 'Wargrave pink'
Hebe albicans
Hebe holywell
Hebe marjorie
Hebe pimeleiodes
Hebe rakaiensis
Hebe 'Red Edge'
Hebe x francisca 'Blue Gem'
Hebe 'Youngii'
Iris Sibirica 'sparkling rose'
Kniphofia 'Alcazar'
Lavandula angustifolia
Libertia grandiflora
Limonium platyphyllum
Nepeta 'Six Hills Giant'
Origanum vulgare
Osteosperum jucundum var. Compactus**
Ozothamnus ledifolius
Panicum virgatum
Perovskia atriplicifolia 'Blue Spire'
Phlomis chrysophylla
Phlomis fruticosa
Phlomis lanata
Phlomis russeliana
Phygelius aequalis 'Winchester Fanfare'
Phygelius x rectus 'Devils Tears'
Rudbeckia fulgida var. Sullivantii 'Goldsturm'
Salvia nemorosa 'Ostfriesland'
Salvia officinalis
Santolina chamaecyparissus
Santolina rosmarinifolia
Schizostylis coccinea
Sedum 'purple emperor'
Sedum Spectabile 'Brilliant'
Stachys Byzantia 'Silver Carpet)

Anemanthele lessoniana                                                             
Calamagrostis x ‘Karl Foerster’
Carex Comans 'bronze'
Elymus magellanicus
Helictotrichon sempervirens
Stipa gigantean

1              Subshrubs are unique in that they have characteristics of both herbaceous and woody plants. Their base is woody, while they produce new herbaceous growth during the primary growing season. Many herbs fall into this category.


  1. I would like to visit it as soon as possible. I can't believe all those pictures... they are great!

  2. Thanks for the comment Joseph. Go and Visit - The next phase surrounding the De La Warr will be openeing very soon - its even better (we think!).


  3. I love your design and planting at this location. Thanks very much for the plant list. Did you ever publish any detail for the area around the pavilion itself?

  4. PS: is Alison Turnbull's study on coastal colouration available for download/purchase?