Gardening in Ocean Beach Park, Connecticut

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My name is Diane Smith and I am a member of the 20-person Beautification Committee in New London, Connecticut. This is a committee appointed by the city. We are all volunteers with different levels of horticultural expertise. Members are responsible for managing 24 sites throughout the city. Each member has one or two sites that he or she is responsible for. In addition, we are all involved in maintaining multiple gardens in Ocean Beach Park, a 50-acre waterfront amusement park and a beach located in Long Island Sound.

I attach photos of the park taken throughout the past growing season. We cover regularly and try to eliminate invasive species by planting low-growing annuals, which can spread and kill areas where weeds were rampant. Please check our results.

Southeast corner of the gardenThe southeast corner of the garden. The history of Ocean Beach Park can be traced back to 1938, when previously privately owned beach buildings were completely destroyed by a hurricane. Many new city-owned buildings, including those behind the main garden, date back to this period.Like most gardens on the beach, we use a lot of repetitive shrubs and perennials such as hydrangeas and nepeta (Nepeta × faassenii, Areas 4-9) help to connect such a large space together. In 2006, the committee began to transform the original grassy hillside into the garden that appears today.

Charming building with curved Art Deco roof linePedestrian entrance to the ocean beach. Another charming building with its curved Art Deco roof line can also be traced back to this period.

Dry riverbedThe boardwalk towards the south-facing garden. The largest garden at Ocean Beach surrounds the port and starboard sides. This is a large facility with kiosks, event facilities and a large deck for outdoor use. One of the main features of this garden is the dry river bed, which is laid in a part of the landscape where there are already large granite boulders (not visible in the photo).

Plants on a steep mountain slopeThe East Garden looks out to the Long Island Strait. Again, we weave similar plants on the steep slopes. This garden, like most hillsides, was originally a meadow that required a lot of care. In the autumn, we spread multiple layers of newsprint in the area, completely cleared the grass, and made preparations for planting in the spring next year. What used to be small shrubs and perennials has now matured into a patchwork of intertwined plants.

LantanaClose view of East Garden. Where there are gaps in the garden, we added annual plants, such as sweet potatoes (Sweet potato, District 9-11 or once a year) and Lantana (Lantana, Zone 8-11 or once a year) to prevent the growth of weeds. We conducted this experiment in the last two growing seasons and achieved great success.

Evergreens, shrubs, various hosta and annual plantsIt leads to a sloping garden on the port and starboard sides. This area allows people with disabilities to enter large-scale event facilities. It used to be a gravel area designed to deter weeds; instead, it attracted feral cats that used it as a litter box. After removing the gravel, we took soil, built walls, and planted evergreens, shrubs, various hosta and annual plants.

Perennial Botanic GardenThere are several other gardens in the park, including this perennial garden near the underground swimming pool and changing rooms.

planterOne of 17 plantations on the beach. Members plant colorful annual plants on the beach every year.

Overgrown hillsideOn the west side of the deck garden, our newest member. The dedicated gardener opened up this area on the hillside covered with grass and weeds. While working on the top, they found a lot of granite and are now shaping it into a rockery.

We posted this sign on our sites throughout the city.

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