Monday, July 26, 2010

Setting the Scene - Part Two

So here we are on the outskirts of Wanganui. The house is on the side of a hill, sorry, valley and the nursery on the flat at the top of the valley, sorry, hill. You'll see why the confusion when you look at this first plan:

Our house and land is at centre right (east). Note the flat land to the west and the deep valleys. So why did we buy a property here? The answer lies in that good friend of all gardeners, the weather and more particularly, the wind. Wanganui has a cool (real cool man!) temperate maritime climate. During winter it is cool and relatively calm. In spring it is cool and usually very windy, from the west. This continues until roughly December 20th at 4pm when the wind drops and then remains fairly light, certainly no more than 20 mph - mostly. Temperatures remain cool (20 to 23 DegC)  in summer due to an on-shore breeze which blows once the land warms at about 10am. Autumn is, you guessed it, cool. Delphiniums like? You've got it. Cool.

The nursery is built on the level (high) land and protected from (but still cooled by) the westerly wind by pine trees now maybe 8 metres tall. It remains cool. Our house is about 12 metres below the nursery and completely protected from the wind. it is warm. It can be blowing a gale "up top" and just a gentle zephyr at the house. It is in short, idyllic, the best of both worlds - and there's always just enough wind to dry the washing.

The garden straddles these two micro-climates.Not only that but because the valley side is eroded there are many different soil types over just a small area, from pure sand to sticky clay to exquisitely well drained, rich loam that holds moisture like a sponge. We don't have rocks however - but life's seldom that perfect.

The first two images are from Google Earth and are 5 years old. The last image is predates even those but was chosen so that you can see the house which is now hidden by the pines.

So that's where we are and why we are there. In the next post I'll lead you up the garden path and show you around the garden, probably both at the same time.

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