Beach Landscape Hits and Misses


Some people go to the beach to enjoy the ocean. I do that (a bit) but mostly find myself looking at plants, at gardens.

So in late May I walked down the boardwalk at Rehoboth, Delaware  and stopped to admire the cedar-shake homes and especially the windswept plants that look just right at the ocean.

Quite a contrast with this absurd display of manicured turfgrass. It looked even worse last fall when it was festooned with Trump signs. (Why are we not surprised?)

I love this home and garden a block or two off the beach. The roses are Rugosas, not the usual Knockouts.

A cute beach cottage with Knockouts and whimsy, too.

This lovely home uses a large swath of Liriope to replace about half the lawn.

This hellstrip along the beach could sure a nice groundcover. Maybe just divide those daylilies.

Don’t you just want to enclose all this plants that were dropped into the turf in one big border?

I can’t figure out if this was once a monoculture hedge that lost a plant in the middle or if this was deliberate. Good example of the advantage of using a mix of species in hedges.

This little patio, near the sidewalk and in plain view of a motel, will never, ever have the privacy that someone thinks those sad little Nandinas will provide for it.

I’m told that this lovely lake just blocks from the heart of Rehoboth is too buggy to be enjoyed during the bug season, despite spraying by the city. Bummer!

I enjoyed breakfast on the front porch of my favorite B&B. There’s lots more garden in the back. (Photos here.)

In nearby Lewes I found a lovely traditional landscape marred by a prominent mulchscape along the road.

In a city garden, another mulchscape, this one spotted with sad little annuals.

On a happier note, I bet every gardener who passes through Lewes stops to notice this stunning and complex curbside garden.

Here’s a peek into that garden, which happens to be the weekend retreat of Holly and Osamu Shimizu. He’s a landscape designer; she’s the retired director of the U.S. Botanic Garden, current interim president of the American Hort Society. So, no wonder.


  1. In fairness with respect to those “sad little annuals”, it looks like they were just planted (it’s still pretty early in the growing season, after all) and assuming they receive proper care they will fill in quite a bit. (But yeah, I would have planted them a little closer together!)

    • Take the time to read about Lewes and the America in Bloom program before you make snarky comments. There are many informative signs all over Lewes and Rehoboth to educate the public.
      Lewes has been a top winner for years!
      And too bad you have put politics into a garden blob….really is that necessary?

      From a passionate Lewes gardener

      • I always love when someone pops into an editorial blog and complains when it contains personal opinions. It’s doubly fun when the commenter complains about “including politics in a [whatever subject] blog” (or, uh, blob I guess) when the title of the thing contains the word RANT.

        Luckily they seem to be quite digitally peripatetic, so will soon be off to be incensed about something elsewhere, never to be heard from again (unless their town, politicians, make of automobile, religion, or favorite ketchup brand is mentioned here again).

        • Good observations. In fact, the inspiration for this blog was the dearth of criticism in gardening publications generally (at least in the U.S.). And “rant” in the title is meant to warn people who want to avoid reading criticism, ever. Susan

          • Criticism is good. A comment, ‘and I bet they had Trump signs on the lawn” or something close to that is not a rant nor criticism…..

  2. Lovely photos. As a West Coast gardener though, we like mulch scape out here, but it is a totally different climate.

  3. I would guess that space in the hedge might have been created to let some light in on those trees.

  4. To be fair, my gardens have much mulched space between plants, but they will be full gardens one day when I’ve filled them in. Right now, I don’t have the money to plant all my gardens full this year. That may be the way it is for some people’s gardens featured in the photos 😉

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