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EEA-KateSampKate Samp

Multimedia intern, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA)

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When I think of spring, images of brightly colored tulips and buttercups instantly come to mind. I love looking out my window every day and watching color return to the landscape. It seems as if spring never comes fast enough to relieve my winter gloom.

Luckily, those of us living on the coast have a distinct advantage—a longer growing season! According to the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, Coastal residents have a 40-day head start on the growing season compared to their inland counterparts.

A great way to enhance curb appeal, a garden provides a welcome burst of color, texture, and interest to the home. Gardening is also an activity suitable for everyone in the family..

If you live in a coastal region, such as the Cape, the Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) has some tips on growing native—a sustainable and environmentally friendly way to bring color and life to your home. Selecting native plants for your garden has the added advantage of providing erosion control and habitats for native wildlife – not to mention that once these trees, s shrubs, and flowers are established, they require less maintenance and care.

First, look for plants that are well adapted to strong winds, salt spray, and a low diversity of nutrients in the soil. 

CZM's list of compatible flowers, trees, and shrubs

One of my favorites is the lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) which thrives in full sun, and has the added benefit of attracting wildlife and producing delicious fruit for harvest in mid-late summer. Another is the Virginia Rose (Rosa virginiana), the plant’s fragrant blossoms are 2-3 inches in diameter and bloom from June through August.

Why not plant some Seaside Goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens)? The vibrant golden-yellow flowers add a burst of color, while the plant’s fleshy, waxy leaves retain water, making the plant ideal for coastal landscaping. Contrary to popular belief, goldenrod is not the culprit for seasonal allergy sufferers – the real bad guy is ragweed, which is part of the sunflower family.

Lowbush Blueberry
Lowbush Blueberry
Photo: University of Connecticut Plant Database

Rosvir00
Virginia Rose
Photo: University of Connecticut Plant Database

Nerr0245
Seaside Golendrod
Photo: NOAA Estuarine Research Reserve Collection, NOAA Photo Library

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