A Walk to the Seaside: Part II – Summer

In March I posted “A Last Winter Walk to the Seaside” inspired by A Tidewater Gardener.   We are officially in Summer, heralded in by the Summer Solstice on 21 June, so it is now time for my first ‘Summer walk’ down the sea to capture the changes in 3 months.

For a few days now the weatherman has been forecasting a heat wave today, Sunday 26 June, with temperatures up to 30°C.    I was a little dubious to begin with when opening the curtains because it looked grey and drizzling outside, however, within a couple of hours the sun came out and it was certainly quite warm by 11:30 am.  Just right for a walk to the beach.

My first stop was Grand Avenue, which certainly lives up to its name.  It is a wide, tree-lined road which goes straight down to the seafront.  In the 19th Century, it was known as “Ladies Mile” and apparently Victorian ladies used to race with pony and traps down this road.

Living by the sea for so long, you get wise to the fact you can never guarantee that the weather inland is what you get by the sea.  As I reached the end of the road, the sun had gone, and there was a sea fret.  I love that word…”fret”.  I heard it several years ago and it is a wet mist that rolls inland from the sea.  It often hangs around all day, and I feel sorry for those who have packed up their picnics and deck chairs to drive to the beach for the day, only to discover the blue sky has gone and you can’t see the sea.  It doesn’t stop people though, what a resilient lot we are.

The sky was interesting with the fret/mist blending into the beautiful blue sky.  I tried to capture it in my camera but not to sure if you can see it properly.  What you can see in the photo below is, what I think, a lovely Thirties style house which has recently been renovated.  I can imagine sitting with a gin and tonic on the roof terrace taking in the wonderful seaviews.

We are now in Marine Gardens, with a pitch and putt at the front of the gardens and a bowling green at the back.

Note to self:  I love Penstemons, why do I never grow them in my garden?  I must get some.

Walking through the gardens, I saw a magnificent Hydrangea with flowers as large as your head.  It looked as though it couldn’t make up its mind whether to be blue or pink and in doing so, ended up a very delicate shade of white.

I said in my Winter Walk post that I like this park because some thought has been given to the planting, it is not full of what I call Council issue flowers.  They have surprised me though because in one section of the garden, which has a water feature, they have planted a complete bed of Cordyline and nothing else.  I have to be honest and say I don’t like it.

As I left Marine Gardens, I took a look at the Olive trees and noticed little shoots coming out of the trunks.  Someone had commented on the earlier post how badly coppiced the trees were. They seem to have filled out well, and the gnarled trunks are great.  I will be interested to see what they do with the shoots – remove them I suspect.

My last port of call was the Southern Water Drought Garden.    It was full of drought resistance plants and flowers.  If you click on the link there is a very informative website which gives lots of information of different types of plants for drought conditions.

Again, I have been unable to present you with lovely photographs of blue sea.  We do have sunny seaside days in Worthing, it is just unfortunate that on my walk in March we had a fog and a fret in June.

Thank you for joining me in my Summer walk to the seafront, and I will give you sunny blue seaside photos shortly, promise.

15 thoughts on “A Walk to the Seaside: Part II – Summer

  1. That bed of cordylines is an abomination! What a shame! I think one of the great things about living near the sea is that whatever the weather it is always wonderful to walk along a beach.


  2. Thanks so much for the wonderful tour and history lesson! The photos are lovely, and I love the lavender hedge in the photo above the penstemon! I have Munstead hedges around my beds and I so love the fragrance in the garden this time of year!

    I am well aware of the phenomenon of the mist coming off the sea – we have that here too. What I love is how cool it makes it, especially on a very hot day. I could sit on the beach for hours when it is like that. Of course, where we live inland barely a mile, by the time it reaches here in the evening it’s fog!

    Such a wonderful post… I enjoyed it so much!


    1. Thank you Cathy for such lovely comments. It is wonderful living by the sea and so easy to forget that not everybody has the luxury. I am really happy that you enjoyed reading my post.


  3. Ronnie this was a great post. It makes me feel like getting in my car right this minute and driving the 60 or so miles to my ocean. But I am too tired from gardening and shopping and painting the house. So what a gift that you sent sea images AND wonderful new words (“sea fret” – so cute, like a baby wannabe storm, I must remember it!) In other response, I loved the chairs lined up on the rocky foggy beach, and the Tolkieny olive trunk, and the fabulous architecture. Thank you!


    1. Reading other peoples blogs is such a learning experience – I am glad you liked the word “Fret”. I think it is a lovely word. The old people lined up on their deck chairs with the hope of being able to see the sea at some point was just asking to have a photo taken.


  4. What a beautiful place to live! You are very lucky to live in such a beautiful place. Not only do you have the sea, but the gardens are lovely as well. Love the hydrangea…mysterious, delicate, and stunning!


  5. I wouldn’t ‘fret’ about the mist; I think it gives the sea an ethereal, mysterious quality, and I am sure it is much better for the complexion than hot sun! Thanks for a delightful post – I could almost smell the salt air. The olive trees are wonderful; they deserve proper care.


  6. Lovely post and just what I needed to cheer up my morning! I’ve experienced lots of misty seaside, but never heard the term “sea fret” before. Wondering if that’s what people do who were hoping for a truly sunny day… Actually, the misty views are very serene and atmospheric and have a charm all of their own. Thanks for sharing.


    1. That is wonderful to know I managed to cheer someone up! I agree with you about fretting for a sunny day. Maybe that is what the old people in their deckchairs were doing!


  7. lol Ronnie that third photo of the mist watchers in the deckchairs made me laugh, up here they call the mist the harr, to get the blue sky you needed to be out before the heat came up, I love that lavender hedge and the hydrangea, there was a lovely 30’s building on one of the piers here and a few years ago our (not) so wonderful council tore it down, it’s nice to know that house has gone to someone who cares, a G&T would be perfect, cheers, Frances


    1. I love the different local names for a sea mist, “harr” is a good one! I hope the renovated house has most of its original interior. I went into another local one a few years ago and it had the most beautiful wooden panelling in the hallway.


  8. i would love to live by the sea, I love the way it changes with every second! As someone who lives in Italy, surrounded by olives I found the sight of the badly pruned tree quite distressing. They should never just coppiced but have all the central branches removed making a vase shape, they can be kept low (here, for easy harvesting) by selecting downward growing branches to keep and removing always the branches theat want to grow straight up; we call them ‘maschi’ (male branches!).


    1. Christina, maybe I should copy your instructions on how to look after Olive trees and email them to the Council Parks Department. Sadly they clearly don’t know how at the moment!! So glad you liked my post.


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