How To Care For Your Surf Coast Garden
The Surf Coast of Victoria is an incredible destination to call home.
The area features spectacular natural beauty with rolling hills, world-famous waves, dense rainforests and rugged heathland. The towns of Torquay, Anglesea, Jan Juc and beyond offer a highly sought after lifestyle with all the benefits of a buzzing yet laid back beachy vibe.
Victoria’s Surf Coast also boasts some of the most beautiful and unique gardens. Rich with indigenous plants, the elements play a huge role in the type of flora and foliage that can thrive in this region. As Spring is approaching, now is the ideal time to get your garden in order.
Here are our top tips for a fabulous Surf Coast garden:
Nurture your soil
The success of any garden begins with the soil. Due to the heavy winds and high salt exposure, sandy soils struggle to hold water and nutrients. As a result of these harsh conditions, the soil can become infertile which creates a very difficult ecosystem for plants to grow.
In order to improve soil conditions, try adding organic material such as manure or blood and bone. A slow release fertiliser will ensure over time that more nutrients are being held in to allow for healthy plant growth. Regular mulching will increase the amount of water retained in the soil and help keep the roots of the plants cooler in the hotter months.
Choose plants carefully
The vibe of a great coastal garden is often rugged and reckless with bursts of colour. But it is important to select the plants that can truly survive hardy conditions. Choose plants which are native to the area or similar coastal environments. Options include:
Drought tolerant plants that endure coastal elements include Pigface, Bear’s Paws, Agave and Blue Chalk Sticks.
Shrubs act as great fillers in the garden. Try Coastal Rosemary, Woolly Bush, Disoma or Hebe.
A perfect base for your garden include grasses like Kneed Wallaby Grass, Blue Tussock Grass, Kangaroo Grass and Orange Sedge.
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Due to the strong winds along the coastline, gardens can come under threat. The winds can dry soil, blow away nutrients and sand blast plants. Having a windbreak will alleviate these issues. We suggest selecting trees that are big and bushy that will survive the force of the winds, essentially taking the hit for the smaller guys! Small trees such as Banksia, Acacia and Grevilia are all great options. Larger ones include Red Ironbark, Swamp Gum, Shining Peppermint or Black Wattle.
Get some inspiration from famous Surf Coast Gardens
The Surf Coast of Victoria is home to some of the most magnificent and dramatic gardens in Australia. These inspiring environmental masterpieces have been created by dedicated gardeners who have worked hard to maintain their beachside backyards. Here are some of our favourites:
This award-winning garden belonging to Peter and Simone Shaw of Ocean Road Landscaping pays homage to its surroundings with a strong connection to the bush. Sunnymeade rests under a canopy of Old Stringybark Trees which are the major stand out feature of this unique setting. The garden features tough natives such as Tussock Grass and Lomandra which are strong enough to endure all the elements. Pops of colour can be seen in the glorious scarlet toned Bougainvillea and rich red strawberry plants. This natural wonderland boasts many artistic elements including magical treehouses, ladders, swings, a sunken garden, bird baths and a rustic fire pit. Sunnymeade is the complete package.
SUNKEN GARDEN, TORQUAY
This Bellarine Peninsula garden by Phillip Withers celebrates the local area. The main feature of the garden is the firepit with a handcrafted blackbutt bench seat by its side. It’s a gathering point in the garden to toast marshmallows, sip on a bold red or pick herbs from the edible garden. There is a rainbow of rich coastal tones in the sunken garden. The colourful mixture of natives and exotics can be seen in the mauve blue flowers of Tree Germander, the red tips of the Jelly Bean plant and the yellow flowers blooming from Bronze Haze and Cotton Heads.
OUR LOCAL COMMUNITY GARDENS
There are a number of community gardens dotted along the Victorian Surf Coast. Community Gardens allow for locals to grow food in both joint and individual plots and are places for people to meet, learn and share. In becoming self-sufficient through growing organic fruit and vegetables, members also gain knowledge on composting, soil preparation and seasonal planting. If you are interested in further connecting with your local community, check out these great communal gardens: