Shoreham beach is one of the richest vegetated shingles in the world. It hosts an extraordinary mixture of plants and animals, all of whom contend with salinity, fierce wind and a lack of fresh water – not to mention trampling and destruction by humans. The landscape can look slightly surreal, the haphazard clumps of vegetation make formations that are silhouetted strangely against the flat planes of shingle, sea and sky.
Beach aster (Erigeron Glaucus) is a garden escape from North America.
I like the idea of garden escapes, seeds floating on silken parachutes above the walls of the garden compound, or runners burrowing under the fences, emerging free to take root where they wish, where the conditions seem right.
On shingle, beach aster produces round clumps (shown in the picture). It is often seen in seaside gardens – I used to think of it as rather dismal – but the plants at Shoreham are sculptural and showy, both in and out of flower, while the blooms themselves are delicate and detailed.
I used coloured pencil – as a medium it lends itself particularly well to the rendering of pebbles.