Since my first blog post was about British Flowers Week, I thought I’d continue on the theme of British flowers, this time looking at wild flowers on the beach. Recently we had a “staycation” so we could take our 10 month old puppy on holiday, rather than leaving him in kennels. We spent a week in Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast. Much as I love to hop on a plane and end up somewhere warm, there’s something to be said for driving for just an hour to be on holiday.
Aldeburgh’s a pretty little town famous for it’s pretty, pastel painted cottages, Maggie Hambling’s scallop sculpture on the beach, composer Benjamin Britten and delicious fish and chip suppers. I couldn’t help but notice all the flowers in the town from the hollyhocks, hanging baskets and fragrant jasmine outside the cottages’ front doors, allotments full of sweet peas and sunflowers, to the wild seaside flowers. Hollyhocks even grow in the pebbles on the beach, along with many others like mallow.
Visiting in late June means that many of the beach flowers were in full bloom. Valerian in shades of pink and red, grows freely in the shingle and any little nook and cranny in walls.
Horned sea poppies with their yellow flowers and long, spiky seed pods grow in big clumps across the beach.
Sea kale with it’s wavy-edged succulent leaves have tiny creamy flowers which later make little berry-like seed pods.
Sea peas looking like mini sweet peas grow low down on the beach while fat, pink thistles attract many bees. All of these flowers have their own wild beauty, albeit short lived.
One of the reasons I love British flowers, both seaside and garden, is that each one has it’s own natural season when they’re at their absolute best. We can enjoy their transient beauty for a few days or weeks and then they’re gone for another year.