Coastal landscaping seminar focuses on beach

What do you plant to beautify your property when your yard is the beach?

With the new dune in place, many beachfront homeowners in Bethany Beach and South Bethany have been wondering how to aesthetically touch up their properties. And the town of South Bethany will hold a seminar on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m., to teach just that. Led by Dr. Wendy Carey from the University of Delaware, “Overview of Coastal Landscaping” will enlighten the public on a variety of landscaping techniques and tips for the coastal environment.

“Since the beach nourishment project was put into affect,” noted Carey, “coastal homeowners now have backed dune areas as their front yard.”

As many know, the sand and sandy soil of the immediate coastal area is hardly comparable to the richer, mineral-laden soil found further inland.

“There are a number of plants out there that could survive in these coastal conditions,” Carey assured coastal property owners. “Many people don’t recognize the variety of native plants out there that are appropriate in these areas.”

Carey has devoted years to the university’s marine advisory service, working with representatives from Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), and has been instrumental in establishing the University of Delaware Sea Grant Program. Her area of specialty covers a range of coastal processes and environments, including background in and training regarding beaches, dunes and wetlands.

“We’ve worked with other departments to develop a native plant garden at the university, too,” she added.

“More homeowners are learning of the types of plants that can survive in this area and requesting them from nurseries,” Carey noted. “There’s a high demand for them and, at the same time, people are doing the right thing for the environment. This landscaping makes their job as a home gardener easier, because they can thrive under conditions that other plants can’t, like sandy soil, extreme temperatures and salt spray.”

In the presentation, Carey plans to explain dune ecology and the typical conditions found there, as well as those of surrounding areas.

“You don’t have to own beachfront property to learn about these things,” she said. “It’s for anyone who’s interested in learning about the environment and lives in area with sandy soil.”

Barbara Jayne, a South Bethany resident and wife of Mayor Gary Jayne, contacted Carey after homeowners came to her.

“People on the oceanside are anxious to find out what they can plant, because now they have room to plant,” Jayne said. “It’s not just here, either. People all over the area are curious.”

The seminar is open to any and every home owner in the area, including Bethany and Fenwick Island, as well as inland.

“Dr. Carey is extremely knowledgeable, and we are very excited to have her come in,” said Jayne.

Based on the outcome of the presentation and feedback from the public, the two have already discussed the possibility of a full-day workshop next spring.

Those who plan to attend the Oct. 22 seminar are being asked to contact South Bethany Town Hall at (302) 539-3653.