Saturday, 7 January 2012

Like a Virgin

Welcome to my first post on my blog 'Growing Paradise'. I am looking forward to sharing my passion with others who love gardening with tropical plants as much as I do.

I have gardened in various places around the world - Hong Kong, Spain and Cuba - and now in Sydney's Inner West (City). Latitude is approximately 33 degrees south and with a warm-temperate climate . However, that description is not entirely accurate. Geographically, Sydney covers a huge area and being a marginal climate (generally too hot for many cold climate plants and too cool for many tropicals) means in the right microclimate (generally those elevated suburbs within 10 kilometres from the coast) winters are mild enough to grow most tropical species. It is not uncommon to see winter lows of 0 degrees celcius (32 farenheight) in the suburbs while reaching only 8 degrees (46.4 farenheight) on the coast.

It is very exciting to get something you have nurtured grow well, even flower - and that excitement is even stronger when it is a plant outside of its ideal climate. I have been establishing my garden since May 2011 and often travel northwards to get my hands on plants not commonly available here. In the following posts, I will be sharing more about my garden and what is in it. I look forward to swapping experiences and exchanging information with other such gardeners.

Anyway, for my first post I am going to share with you something that I came across yesterday. It isn't in my garden, but pretty indicative of what we have to deal with here. It is a Cassia Fistula, also known as a 'Golden Shower Tree'.  It was about 5m and had a 4m spread. It is growing in Cabramatta (a suburb in south-western Sydney with a high Vietnamese population). Being far from the coast, the winter lows of Cabramatta would reach freezing. Here are the pics:

I say 'pretty indicative' for a reason. A tropical tree, this cassia, like many other species, is not sold here because we are (according to 'knowledgeable' nursery people and northern plant producers) "too cold". If I listened to these people, practically none of my plants would be alive, let alone thriving.  Thankfully we have some people in the community who are willing to experiment and give us all something to aspire to.

I want one :)

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