I spent the day at the beach today. Sunshine, blue sky, breezes, sand and of course the gorgeous blue waters which draw the eye. There is something so calming about looking out to sea, watching the waves crash to shore, the tides move in and out, the sand shifting with water and wind. But walking along the shore I begin to realize there is much more to this coastal environment than sea and sand; plants are vital here, too.
There are the crooked, wind-wracked trees, which here are mostly oak and cedar. Then there are the low thorny shrubs, the beach rose and bay-berry which cling to the back of the dunes where the birds and small animals hide.
Finally, the low lying grasses and other ground cover that envelope the tides and keep the dunes from eroding away entirely. What a fantastic and sublime eco-system! Next time you are at the beach, try to look away from the sea (or the bikini-clad sunbathers near-bye) and take another look at the plants growing around.