I spent a few weeks this Fall in the village of Mumbles which is now a suburb of Swansea. After decades of living in Zone 6 Toronto and Montreal, I'd forgotten just how temperate my home town is in comparison to the Great White North.
Climate is complicated, and here I'm reminded that north and south are not the only things that affect cold and warmth. Montreal is just above the 45th parallel and Toronto is even further south just below the 44th. By comparison coastal South West Wales is just below the 52nd parallel, and yet experiences mild temperate weather throughout the year. The reason for this is, of course the Gulf Stream which sends warm currents of air and water up from the southern Atlantic which moderate the climate.
Plants that would be considered tender in my Zone 6 garden. Rosemary, Fatsia and Passion Fruit are completely hardy in Mumbles, even in the smallest front gardens, and can grow into impressively large specimens.
|A typical row of cottages in Mumbles.|
|Rosemary can grow into impressive shrubs.|
|Rosemary still in bloom in September.|
|Fatsia looks almost tropical to Zone 6 gardeners.|
|Passion Fruit a common vine in gardens with lots of flowers and fruit.|
|Lavender hardy in zone 6 but never achieving this sort of size.|
|This garden has Dracenas, Tree Ferns, Bamboo and Phormium.|