Part I – Climate

Do you like some of the plants you see in this blog, but think they might be too tender at your home? Perhaps the following statistics will help:

CLIMATE ZONE:

My garden sits in USDA Zone 8 / RHS Zone H5; the hottest temperature ever recorded was 35°C / 95°F and coldest temperature recorded is -12°C / 10°F.

In a typical year, there are fewer than 3 days above 30°C / 86°F and fewer than 10 mornings colder than -3°C / 26°F.

It is considered to be a mild maritime climate similar to those found in the UK and Western Europe and the Pacific North West of the United States. It has a cool summer and cool winter.

COMPARISON TO OTHER ZONE 8 CLIMATES:

This table shows a comparison of the average temperatures between the Blue Mountains, London, UK and Portland, USA. These have been arranged by season for ease of comparison:

TemperatureComparisons

As you can see, the figures are very similar across all three areas with our climate most closely resembling London.

The temperatures for London and Portland were obtained from Wikipedia.

FROST:

In a typical year, there are approximately 65 frost days. Frosts can occur anytime between late April (autumn) and late November (Spring) – as well as light frosts even in summer, but frosts usually occur between mid May and Early October.

RAINFALL:

It is a high rainfall garden, with about 1200mm / 50″ falling each year across about 200 rain days. The bulk of rain falls in Summer, with January to March being the wettest months.

Spring time is the driest season with September and October the driest months (however 154mm / 7″ of rain still falls on about 21 out of those 61 days).

SOIL:

The soil in my garden is slightly acidic and sandy, giving sharp drainage.

The Upper Blue Mountains soils vary by location – towns like Wentworth Falls have clay, and towns like Mount Tomah have rich, ancient volcanic soils.

WILL THE PLANTS IN YOUR GARDEN GROW IN MINE?

Assuming you are in USDA zones 7b-9a, then the likely answer is yes, particularly those gardeners in coastal Europe.

But there is a huge caveat: drainage.

If the soil is boggy in winter, even light frosts can kill otherwise reasonably hardy Australian plants: particularly if winter light levels are very low (as is the case with gardeners north of the 50th Parallel).

For those of you wanting to grow Australian natives in cool climates look for plants from the highlands of NSW, Victoria & Tasmania which can cope with these sorts of conditions.

The plants that are often available overseas, (and those plants that typically grace Californian, or other Mediterranean gardens), are typically the showy plants from Western Australia which mostly don’t cope with boggy or cold conditions.

In fact, even in Australia, most plants from Western Australia have to be grafted onto root stock to survive the rainfall of the East Coast.

And remember, if you have successfully grown Australian Natives in your garden, never apply general fertilizers – the Phosphorous will kill them. If you can’t find an Australian Native Plant fertilizer, then seaweed solution diluted to 50% of the recommended dose will be fine.

Happy Gardening!

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