South African hardiness, continued

James Waddick
Wed, 14 Jul 2004 12:10:46 PDT
Dear Ellen and all;
	I am sorry if I was ranting about those %^$#@ not hardy South 
African Plants. Jim Shields made me do it!

	You are absolutely right about micro-climate and variation 
between your Zone 5 and my Zone 5. Our summer nights cool down to 80 
F and I think  that is one of the reason we cannot grow most alpines 
( i.e I often say that if a plant has seen the mountains, it just 
won't live here). Plants at high altitude-even if exposed to high day 
temps are able to rest in cooler nights, but here, our warm nights 
keep metabolism going and the plants literally 'burn up' without rest.
	Likewise our winters are cold and wet. Without much snow 
cover so when we get a little mild weather things turn to mud. There 
a mild spell melts the top few inches of snow cover and at ground 
level you have even humidity and temp.

	I have been able to push a lot of things by planting on 
extremely raised beds, pure sand and incorporating extra organic 
matter to raise or lower moisture retention. And of course altering 
soil pH to fit some specifics. and other aspects of 'siting'. All 
part of the challenge and joy.

	My 'complaint' is that I just don't seem to be to accommodate 
a lot (hardly any) of the so-called "hardy South Africans' as even 
with my best micro-climate control, I can only go just so far.

	So..... there's more to hardiness than the info a mere 
hardiness zone give you, but a multitude of micro-climate 
manipulations and the 'skill' of the grower- and more.

	I do try. And I have killed A LOT of plants.

		Jim W.

Dr. James W. Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd.
Kansas City Missouri 64152-2711
Ph.    816-746-1949
E-fax  419-781-8594

Zone 5 Record low -23F
	Summer 100F +

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