Beach Plum um… Beach Rose Hunt

2011-02-09 13.52.21I went to the Beach with my daughter on what seemed like the coldest day of the year. On Feb. 9th I brought A-girl to Island Beach State Park for a couple of reasons. I’m not eating eggs anymore so I wanted to gather some sea shells to crush up and add to my garden beds. The seashells would decompose VERY slowly and add calcium to the soil. I had also read that sea weed would add lots of nutrient rich green matter to my compost pile. We loaded the car with a couple of garbage cans, shovels, pruners and garbage bags. These were fine reasons to go, but what really pushed me out the door on that freezing day was a longing to find a beach plum bush. They grow wild along island beach and I was hoping to spot one and take some cuttings that I could grow in my own yard.

We parked, made our way down to the beach and found plenty of shells, but the beach was VERY clean – no seaweed to be found.

2011-02-09 13.52.58I had read varying accounts of what a beach plum is supposed to look like, so I wasn’t sure. When I got to looking around the park, I realized that finding the right shrub would be harder than I thought. I took some cuttings of some interesting looking shrubs, but then I found some short thorny brambles with bright red berries on them. Please, keep in mind I am a novice gardener! I had no idea what a rose hip looks like!

I took clippings from these thorny beauties and picked some of the berries to take home. I even used my shovel and lifted a small shoot with some roots attached to try to replant in my yard.

I saw a youtube video of a man who propagated berry bushes using “grow bags” and wanted to give that a try, so when I got home I filled a couple of gallon zip lock bags with soil, poked in some holes and stuck my cuttings in.

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When I got home, I did some more research about beach plums and it seems that what I found, and took the bulk of my clippings of, were beach roses or “Rosa rugosa”

I’m looking forward to seeing if any of them grow, but that will be my final trip to take cuttings from wild shrubs for quite some time. As it turns out – 2 days later I developed a wicked rash on my right arm. Poison something. After a $20 copay for the doc and then the cost of the OTC medicine I got to treat it, it was a $36 lesson. What have I learned? Support your favorite online nursery and BUY some Beach plum bushes!

More pictures from our expensive adventure…

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These are the rose hips that came off the cuttings I took.

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I really love living on the Jersey Shore. It’s gorgeous all year round.

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