Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Gardens along Virginia Beach

red rose shrub in front of golden dry grasses along Virginia Beach

Hello Fellow Readers, As we speak, I’m overlooking the gardens along Virginia Beach. Three years ago, our last time here was with Miss Ellie in tow, how she loved it here. It’s heartwarming to see Jolee put her paws in the sand for the first time.

a black and white dog stretching in the sand at sunrise on Virginia Beach

Jolee’s first time in the sand

Along the shoreline is a three-mile boardwalk designated amongst the Great Public Places by the American Planning Association. There are wooden benches where you can sit and view the ocean. Amid them, a garden of ornamental grasses and tough seaside perennials tolerant of the salt air.

Salt Tolerant Perennials along Virginia Beach
dusty grey-green foliage plant with a sunny yellow flower

Sunny Yarrow still in bloom

I snagged photos of a few still in bloom, such as sunny yellow yarrow with fuzzy bluish-green foliage. And a single resilient Stella D’Oro Daylily flower renews an appreciation for the tough though overused garden plant. Many roses remain in bloom, bringing the eyeballs away from their worn foliage impacted by frost. How lovely they look next to the ornamental grasses swaying in the breeze, many already in their golden winter glory.

A love of Ligularia

Along the foundation of a high-rise is a leaning white pine that’s trunk looks like driftwood embracing a Leopard Plant, one of my favorite deer-resistant, shade-loving moist-soil plants. I believe the variety is Ligularia dentata ‘Desdemona’ (zones 4-9), whose foliage emerges dark red, growing into lovely heart-shaped leaves. The undersides remain purple below the yellow flowers standing four feet tall in late summer. Butterflies love the late-season feast.

a yellow flowering Ligularia in front of a white pine trunk

Butterflies love the late season feast of Ligularia

yellow and green variegated yucca behind ice plants along Virginia Beach

A not so yucky Variegated Yucca sets the stage for Ice Plant

Then come Yucca, a plant I largely dislike, and joke that its name is fitting—though they have a place in tropical settings and along the shore. Especially when an ice plant, a drought-tolerant succulent, serves as a groundcover in front of a not-so-yucky variegated yucca. I believe it’s a Coopers Hardy Ice Plant (Delosperma cooperi – zones 5-9). Bees love them while deer don’t. It was too early for the bright magenta flowers to be open, but they will as the sun rises.

Appreciation of the Sun and Sea

Speaking of, we rose in time to see the sunrise thanks to Jolee’s squeals of happiness saying the day is here. The poor dear does not travel well; undoubtedly, her traumatic road trip rescue from Mississippi left a scar. But now that she’s here, she finds the seagulls a blast to chase.

With the sun rising above the sea, its brilliant orange blaze tinting the clouds above and the current below, I pause in the miracle of the sun warming our earth each day, asking for nothing in return.

Sure, it’s not bathing suit weather, temps in the fifties with wind briskly allowing the Ferris wheel to rotate on its own. But hearing the crashing waves is mesmerizing. I reflect on how the ocean is the lowest body of water to which all other flows; there’s something remarkably powerful about that.

a white peace pole with blue signs at Virginia Beach

The Peace Pole at Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach Patriotism 

I adore the patriotism of Virginia Beach, with courtyards of sculptures honoring those that serve. Maybe if I lived here, the sonic sounds of F-18 Hornets from the nearby navy base would be intrusive. But the roar quickly dissipates, traveling over a thousand miles per hour to land on aircraft carriers out to sea.

It was at the end of our walk that the most joyous discovery came. A Peace Pole with a quotation “May Peace Prevail on Earth.”

For over thirty years, it’s a worldwide movement started by Masahisa Goi, born in 1916 in Tokyo, Japan. He dedicated his life to inspiring global peace and harmony after witnessing the devastation of World War II and the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. His famous words—

“World peace comes about when each individual lives in a peaceful setting. Likewise, when each individual lives in a peaceful setting, it means that world peace has been realized”-Goi Sensei.

May we all help propagate peace in the garden of life.

Garden Dilemmas? (and your favorite Podcast App.)

Link to more about the Peace Pole Project

Link to the story from our last trip- Reflections from Virginia Beach


Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary
  1. ken roberts Reply

    Welcome home partner, and thank you for another beautiful column.

    • Mary Stone Reply

      Thank you, my dear friend. Your kind words mean so much. Looking forward to when our weekly sings at the Karen Ann Quinlan Home for Hospice resume. Meanwhile, I’m grateful you can spread the joy, BIG love, Mary

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