Woodland Shade Gardening

Woodland shade gardening with a purpose – pleasure, creativity, rainwater collection!

Does any plant say “Beach” quite like the Wax Myrtle?

Wax myrtle, naturalized into forest-like quantities immediately behind the dunes at Huntington Beach State Park

Wax myrtles, their tops barely visible, naturalize like a small forest behind the dunes at Huntington Beach State Park in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.

The spicy-sweet fragrance of the Southern Wax Myrtle is often noticeable floating on the breezes along the Grand Strand of South Carolina.  This evergreen shrub has bright olive-green new growth that matures to a deep glossy green and sways in even a slight breeze.  When stroking one’s hand through the foliage of the wax myrtle, even more fragrance is released.  The growth habit of the wax myrtle is loose, open, and almost lacy-looking.  It speaks of cool breeziness, which is especially nice on hot summer days.

Wax Myrtle moving in the slightest  breeze

Wax myrtle (myrica cerifera) moving in the breeze

 

Wax Myrtle's glossy, deep green mature foliage

Deep green mature foliage of the wax myrtle.

Myrtle Beach is named for the Southern Wax Myrtle, a result of a contest held in 1900.  The winner of the contest was the widow of Franklin G. Burroughs, Adeline, who wanted to give recognition to this native shrub that grows so abundantly in the area.  Franklin G. Burroughs was a developer who wanted the Horry County beaches to become a vacation retreat like those in Florida, and the Burroughs-Chapin Art Museum is yet another gift to enjoy while visiting the Grand Strand.

Burroughs-Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach, SC

Burroughs – Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Praising the fragrance of wax myrtle would not be complete without mentioning the earthy, addictive fragrance of pluff mud in the inlets and marshes of this coastal region.  The fragrance of pluff mud is a result of the decaying spartina grass and sea creatures in the tidal pools and tidal creeks, and is surely loved by some people, and not loved by others!

Wax Myrtle seedlings mature all through the unmanicured areas surrounding the marsh in Murrells Inlet, SC

Wax myrtle seedlings mature all through the unmanicured areas surrounding the marsh in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.

Next time you are visiting the beaches, look away from the commercial elements for a moment and embrace these natural gifts. And say Thank You.

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This entry was posted on June 20, 2015 by in My Woodland Garden and tagged .
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Woodland shade gardening with a purpose - pleasure, creativity, rainwater collection!

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