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Feb 5 2009

Posted By: Paul 08/05/2009 07:13:00

Well so much for putting the polythene down to warm the soil! At least the 4-5 inch blanket of snow has kept the worst of the frost away. It just goes to show how unpredictable the weather in the UK can be.

If you compare the plant hardiness zones for the UK with those of the USA for example, the UK ranges from 7a to 10a. In the US 7a is the zone for Oklahoma City and 10a is Naples in Florida. However the majority of the UK falls into the zone known as 8b, the US equivalent is Austin Texas. So why can't we grow Orange trees in our gardens? Because the fluctuations in the temperature are too great for the tender exotics to survive. The North Atlantic Drift and the cold Continental, and Arctic air are continuously fighting to produce our weather patterns. Without the cold snaps like the ones we have just had the Vernalization process doesn't work correctly and seeds and buds which depend on a cold snap to break their dormancy get horribly confused.

So this year, maybe we can expect a return of more old fashioned flowering and fruiting times? The fact that our local climate is so diverse does make for an interesting time for the UK gardeners. Maybe it's the challenge we love that makes us a country of gardeners, who knows?

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