Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Down By The Seashore

The North Shore of P.E.I. in August, 2011
Our shorelines are filled with So Many Beautiful Native Plants.  It's Amazing that so many plants will grow and thrive in such harsh conditions.  Native plants literally hold the sand together with their roots, preventing erosion and the ultimate moving of the dunes.  These photos were taken in late August of 2011 on our North Shore in P.E.I.
Artemisia stelleriana (Dusty Miller)
Wild bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica)
I've learned that salt can be extremely beneficial to certain types of plants and shrubs that thrive in the sand.  Salt spray can act as an anti fungal and is even known to deter bugs.  Beach plants have clever ways to get rid of salt.  A native P.E.I. grass; Spartina alterniflora (Salt water cord grass), is adapted to live in salt water.  Excess salts are removed from the plant by epidermal salt glands.
Wild bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica) is an excellent green shrub for the shore.  Its shiny green leaves last well into late fall when it is full of grey scented berries loved by birds and also used for bayberry candles.  It thrives in the sand with no maintenance for its root nodules contain nitrogen-fixing microorganisms which allow it to grow in poor soils.

Sea Lavender (Limonium carolinianum) is a perennial, salt-marsh plant that grows 1 - 2 ft (30 - 60 cm.) high and has abundant, small, pale purple flowers on branching clusters.  Sea lavender blooms create the appearance of a delicate purple mist on the salt marsh during the late summer.  We often collect sea lavender to dry, made my first wreath with it last fall.  It is sort of a rite of summer like berry picking.

Seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens) is a native perennial that is well adapted to the landward side of fronting dunes, low secondary dunes, and edges of salt marshes.  The fleshy, waxy leaves growing abundantly along the entire length of the stem help retain moisture that would otherwise be lost to the drying effect of salt spray.  Its bright yellow flowers are larger than those of the typical goldenrod and provide a great show in late summer and early fall.  We have them growing wild in our field as well.  I guess that tells you how sandy our soil is!  They make a lovely cut flower!

Seaside Goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens)
A windy day at the shore

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