This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Sea-side planting presents many difficulties, especially on a bleak exposed shore, where comparatively few things will flourish. Still there is no necessity for the monotonous repe titions of Poplars, Tamarisks, and the few other plants ordinarily met with at watering-places, which, as a rule, are in sheltered situations. In such localities there is scarcely any limit to the number of species that may be successfully cultivated. It would be superfluous to enumerate all the species that might be grown; but a glance at some of the more suitable subjects will serve as a guide to what may be effected. Of course the same species are not available for all parts of the coast, though strictly hardy plants, capable of withstanding the wind, will do equally well, other things being equal, on any part of the coast. Probably the south-west winds are more injurious to trees and shrubs than the eastern or north-eastern, and, therefore, all those species which will bear the greater cold of the eastern side of the island with impunity will thrive as well, or nearly so, as on the western. In tolerably sheltered situations near the sea in the south-western and western parts of Great Britain and Ireland, the otherwise tender Japanese, North American, and South European plants will flourish; and we might add a few from the southern hemisphere, from New Zealand and from the extreme south of America. A large proportion of these species will do well in the immediate neighbourhood of the sea. The following enumeration includes some of the best, the greater part being evergreen shrubs: - Euonymus Japonicus varieties, Phillyrea varieties, Cupressus macrocarpa, Aucuba Japonica varieties, Escallonia macrantha, Hydrangea Hortensia varieties, Cistus (various species), Grenista alba, Spartium junceum, Cytisus species, Berberis Darwinii and other species, Baccharis halimifolia, Laurus nobilis, Rhamnus Alaternus, Ephedra species, Viburnum Tinus, Ligus-trum (various), Buddlea globosa, Spiraea, Kibes, and Ceanothus (various), Coronilla Emerus, Yucca species, etc.
There is scarcely any spot where the soil is deep enough for cultivation, but what may be improved by planting some of the very hardiest trees or shrubs to protect the flower-garden and the tenderer shrubs. The shelter afforded by trees or shrubs is far more effective than a solid wall, on account of the back wind, as it is termed, from the latter, which is often more destructive than the direct wind. Pinus Austriaca, P. maritima, and some of the other species of dense habit, English Yew, Holly, Evergreen Oak, Double-flowered Furze, Black Poplar, Sycamore, Small-leaved Elm, Tamarisk, Tree Box, and Sea Buckthorn, are some of the hardy subjects that will bear the brunt of the wind without sustaining any damage, except in unusually stormy weather. Where the shelter is good, almost all of the bedding plants in general cultivation will flourish. But it is useless to attempt to grow delicate and brittle plants where they are exposed to the fury of the south-west gales. It is better in such cases to be content with dwarf, tough, hardy species that may be depended upon, even at a sacrifice of variety. Tufted plants, like the Statices, Thrift, Saxifrages, Sedums, Polyanthus, Double-crimson Daisy, Phlox subulata, Candytuft, Pinks, Aubrietia, Arabis albida, and Alyssum saxatile, escape with little injury. Creeping plants, or such as will bear pegging-down, like the hybrid Verbenas, Nierembergia gracilis, Lobelia Erinus, Helianthemum species, various Roses, etc., suggest themselves- Tree Paeonies, Chrysanthemums, Fuchsias, New Zealand Flax, and many other slightly tender things, will succeed well in warm sheltered localities. We might go on enumerating species of different degrees of duration and hardiness; but, as we have already observed, a very little shelter is sufficient to supply favourable conditions for an almost unlimited number of plants.