One of the big things I am trying to learn is to garden to my climatic conditions. I do still find myself tempted by plants that look good or taste good, that wont naturally grow in my climate. These end up being a waste of time and money. We have a good local plant nursery and I have worked out that buying things they have propagated themselves is pretty fool proof. I do have to beware of things they have bought in however.

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Hi Isabell, its hard to restrain ourselves sometimes eh :)
here on the west coast of the south island, our apple trees do no good really, at this time of year the little fruit splits because we have too much rain, and yet I bought a cox's orange tree today...and a tamarillo, even though I know from experience that if we have a cold winter it will not survive. but thats a coin toss, we have mostly mild winters because we are by the sea.My husband has a seedling avocado tree in the garden he has nurtured for several years now, each winter it gets denuded and is now three feet high with a few new leaves unfurling, yet he wont pull it out, and we saw several avocado trees for sale at the garden centre today! The cox's orange tree came over from Ashburton, which has an opposite climate to us here, the guy in the garden centre said, it will just take a year or two to acclimatise...yeah right, but I want to believe him, don't know what the climate will do with global warming anyway, do we?

Its good to keep pushing the boundaries a bit though; received wisdom isn't always so wise.  Maybe the climate is changing - or maybe the plants are more adaptable than we knew? I remember that when I was young keen gardeners carefully dug up dahlia tubers every autumn and wintered them over in the shed. I'm too lazy - and not only do my dahlias survive the winter  perfectly well in the ground but they self seed all over the place giving me amazing new colours and forms. Who'd have thought it?

I'm the same here too Margaret,i leave my Dahlia's in the ground in winter and they dont seem to mind at all and we get -9 frost here.

Talking of pushing the boundaries,one seed line i grow for Koanga is the Nutty celery which had been grown in Northland for over a hundred years,my first year growing it i planted about 50 plants and by the end of the following winter i was down to one plant still and only just alive, i was covering it at night with woollen blankets,i managed got seed from that one which went onto another sowing,the second generation after exposing the block of plants to most of the winters frosts ithen had to covered the last of about 6 plants still living till spring.I'm up to five generations now and i'm not covering any plants at all but i still will lose about half,so its a far more cold tolerant line than it was and i would imagine that it should continual to improve. 

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