Wednesday afternoon Garden club meeting had a guest speaker, Kevin Kavanagh owner of South Coast Gardens.... This garden is located on the north shore of Lake Erie in Southern Ontario. The topic, Gardening in Norfolk -where North meets South.Kevin works for the Nature Conservancy of Canada but his hobby, gardening and birdwatching has turned into a second profession.
Kevin did research on the native tulip trees, falling in love with the Norfolk area.He moved from Toronto in 2005 and opened a small nursery specializing in plants native to southern Ontario and the eastern US. His focus is researching frost hardy sub tropical plants and designs gardens with a tropical southern look......using palms and Carolinian species.........
Being a researcher he has tracked the changes in plant zones and temperature change.
One interesting fact from 1960-1983 average winter temp for this area -22.7 (6a) 1984- 2007-8 - 20.0(6b) a change of + 2.7C. This area moved up one level in zone as well....
He is growing Southern magnolia, the lovely magnolia with thick fleshy green leaves with the brown velvety underside.
He suggests growing Rhodos in full sun like they are in the Carolina's , makes the plant stronger , less prone to winter burn...
Northern light series is well suited here.
Needle Palm , the same palm seen in British Columbia . He has succeeded growing here.
Kevin suggests when pushing the zones to consider; the importance of acclimation, site location; micro climates, spring planting, providing a full season to put down roots, patience, 3-4 years for a plant to establish; plant size, the bigger the better; Anti-desiccant sprays,helpful to broad leaf evergreens;
water in the winter, protect in early spring from the rapid changes in temperatures, winter protection , shelter from strong winds......
I am certainly excited to see his garden and the plants he is pushing the climatic zone with. Would love to be able to grow a Rhododendron here....
For us northern gardeners he left us with a bit of advice from David Franco's book, Palms won't grow here and other Myths;
The fact is , plants can't read the information on their tags.
Winter protection is not cheating.
Snow can be a good thing.
A type of plant is hardy until you have killed it 3 times!