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
Cytisus x kewenensis
Euonymus Japonicus 'Microphyllus Aureovarigs
Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Tom Thumb'
Rosa Rugosa 'Alba' & Rosa Rugosa 'Rubra'
Rosmarinus officinalis 'Prostratus'
Spiraea Japonica 'Goldflame'
Herbaceous, Perrenial and sub shrubs
Agapanthus Headbourne Hybrids
Artemisia ludoviciana 'Silver Queen'
Aster x frikartii ‘Mönch’
Brachyglottis monroi 'Brookside'
Cistus 'Silver Pink'
Crocosmia 'George Davidson'
Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii
Euphorbia x martinii
Geranium x oxonianum 'Wargrave pink'
Hebe 'Red Edge'
Hebe x francisca 'Blue Gem'
Iris Sibirica 'sparkling rose'
Nepeta 'Six Hills Giant'
Osteosperum jucundum var. Compactus**
Perovskia atriplicifolia 'Blue Spire'
Phygelius aequalis 'Winchester Fanfare'
Phygelius x rectus 'Devils Tears'
Rudbeckia fulgida var. Sullivantii 'Goldsturm'
Salvia nemorosa 'Ostfriesland'
Sedum 'purple emperor'
Sedum Spectabile 'Brilliant'
Stachys Byzantia 'Silver Carpet)
Calamagrostis x ‘Karl Foerster’
Carex Comans 'bronze'
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.