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Gnome43's Profile



About me

I live in Canberra, capital city of the Land of Oz. It is inland - about 200 k from the east coast and about 560 m above sea level. This means that we have what is known technically as 'bloody cold winters' although I have American and /European friends who think that's a joke and we don't know what cold is. Canberra is definitely the coldest major city in Oz, and the average minimum temp in mid-winter (July) is 0 deg C.

Like 80% of Australians, I grew up on the coast - in Adelaide, where frost just doesn't happen. I like warm weather and every June for the 22 years I have lived here I have threatened to move to somewhere with a decently warm climate. Unfortunately for me, a good proportion of our grandchildren live here and Julie my wife is attached to them.

We started cutting down on work last year, and built ourselves a new house in a new area of Canberra (like most of the land around here, if it wasn't built on it was sheep paddocks, although there is quite a bit of the original native grassland too. We have a smallish garden (our block is 600 sq m and the house takes up half of that, but it is enough to keep me occupied developing it from scratch.

The soil around this region is heavy clay over a heavier clay subsoil, with a lot of mudstone thrown in. When it is dry (most of the time) it is like brick and when it's wet it turns to jelly. Our climate is 'cool temperate' I suppose. The local wisdom is that you can expect a frost anytime from Anzac Day (25 April) to Labour Day (12 October) and on average we get about 150 frosts a year. The daytime temperatures tend to fall off around the beginning of April (although it is still around 30 deg C this week).

The rain (such as it is) falls all year round, with the best times being autumn and spring, but altogether, the annual average is around 600mm. It has been less the last few years.

Other Australians reading this will sympathise with my awful plight, but I expect that all you northern hemispherical people whose gardens are buried under metres of snow each year wonder what the problem is.

Anyway, for now we have our soil improvement program, negotiating the relative size of the vege area and the ornamental area, building a rockery that combines daffodils and crocus with native Australian species, and testing the fortitude of some plants I collected while visiting family in Broken Hill. Broken Hill is drier, sandier, hotter and about 1200 k away on the edge of the arid zone. Love that country.

Well, enough chat for now.

What else

Joined in Feb 2009

Country: Australia

State/Territory: ACT