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Old 04-21-2011, 12:50 PM
 
Location: Mid Atlantic USA
6,013 posts, read 3,045,607 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoney63 View Post
NZ bush is tropical in origin, plain and simple. Palms fit in very well with it. The Nikau isn't that common in cultivation, but is very common in original bush. NZ gardening tradition tried to recreate what the settlers missed, the "home look". That look is still ingrained here, the opposite to your valid point about cold climate Victorian gardeners. Our big ,bold, tropical type flora wasn't well regarded for a long time.. Most people don't care about palms either way, unless they are blocking their view or sprouting in their garden. They aren't new or novel, just normal. There has been a renewed ( by a few people)interest in newer species, but there isn't the Disneyland look of some places.

The light in NZ is brighter than I can remember in California and particularly the PNW. Tall convective clouds are common, but don't produce a lot of thunder , horizontal stratus cloud really doesn't dominate (crap when it does though). NZ skies are typically dynamic and I haven't seen anywhere else with the variety of clouds as here.

No houses down south look like the Portland one(unless there is a theme park somewhere)although they are typically different to here. The other house wouldn't look out of place here at all, although warm temperature adaptations aren't are a consideration. Our own house is designed for maximum winter sun and summer shade, so big verandas and big windows, big doors open on sunny winter days and warm the house for the night. A very shallow roof pitch as we don't get snow. The house is surrounded by winter flowering plants, as bees and other insects are in full swing on all but the wettest winter days. In winter Citrus, guava, passionfruit, tree tomatoes drop on the ground. Avocados wait to be picked, olives rot on the ground ( will harvest them one day). The point is, it's not about trying to be subtropical or pretending we live in Brisbane, rather just growing what is easy. That is the difference between here and northern Japan, Norway( thanks for the laughs) , the UK ,or the PNW. Further north is even better in this regard. If you can grow bananas commercially, this must surely say something about the climate. Florida we ain't, but neither are we coastal Norway.

Have you been to Palm Springs, CA? Go there and tell me about the light at your maritime latitude 41 compared to the light there. Your sunshine hours are lower than ours here let alone California.
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Old 04-21-2011, 01:39 PM
 
Location: Mid Atlantic USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B1987 View Post
That was the 2nd coldest December in over 350 years though, most winters don't get below 25F even on the coldest nights. The average low in the coldest month is 37F at Heathrow, and 41F in the centre.

Anyway..going to the beach this weekend, cloudless skies and temps in the low 80s forecast

Low 80's along the coast of Britain at this time of year. Very nice!


The forecast on here shows 75 for a high on Sat along the south coast and a high of 70 on Sunday. Downhill after that.


UK temperature forecast - Met Office


Btw, it seems that right now, since in mid April your average high/low is around 55 (13C)/42(6C), your temps are 20 degrees above normal. That is well above normal and way above the std deviation for a maritime climate.

Mother Nature has a way of balancing out the yearly avg temps. So either this abnormally warm weather is making up for December, or watch out come summer and fall. Enjoy your summer now while it lasts.
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Old 04-21-2011, 01:40 PM
 
Location: Yorkshire, England
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom77falcons View Post
Have you been to Palm Springs, CA? Go there and tell me about the light at your maritime latitude 41 compared to the light there. Your sunshine hours are lower than ours here let alone California.
Would the higher UV in NZ not make it look brighter though when the sun is shining, plus any reflection off the sea/snowy mountains in background?
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Old 04-21-2011, 02:53 PM
 
Location: Mid Atlantic USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ben86 View Post
Would the higher UV in NZ not make it look brighter though when the sun is shining, plus any reflection off the sea/snowy mountains in background?

Possibly, but I think the whole concept is too subjective. I'm not sure how UV would affect that but ya never know. However, the surrounding mountains and landscape of Palm Springs make the light there pretty intense.
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Old 04-21-2011, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
11,186 posts, read 12,813,280 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dxiweodwo View Post
I do think that palms look "out of place" in temperate zones. I do not get the recent obsession with palm trees. Palm trees are not supposed to grow in DC or Seattle. Even in North GA when people had palms it looked out of place. Those are not native species, they will become invasive. There is a reason why it is not native to the region...because it's not supposed to grow there. That's like me putting a Blue Spruce in FL, it's not going to be too healthy.
Well, the palms in the picture above in Seattle can take a freeze down into the single digits (I belive they're Windmill Fan Palms) and they grow happily all the way up to Vancouver, BC. And I've seen them in England. I believe they're native to somewhere fairly far north in Asia. So they actually do fine in climates where you might not expect palms. There is a very wide variety in palms and their hardiness. If you see coconut palms, then you know you're truly in or very close to the tropics.
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Old 04-21-2011, 03:15 PM
 
Location: motueka nz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Depends where in NZ. The North Island does look very lush like a tropical rainforest, while drier parts of the South Island could easily pass for somewhere like Canada, with what looked like pines, conifers and decidious trees. Compared to Australia your vegetation looks Northern Hemispheric.
I don't think anywhere looks like Australian bush, it's truly unique. It's not the lushness that shows the tropical origins of NZ bush, but the plants themselves, their form and structure. If you really want to see lush rainforest, go to the South Island. Drier parts of the South Island do look different, but lots more pines and other conifers around here and in the North Island. I keep recognizing a scene out of the last X-Men movie. It was about 10km from here and was meant to be a logging skid in the PNW ( I couldn't see my house though)






Quote:
Originally Posted by wavehunter007 View Post
Wow, that is really surprising to hear that the average cloud type around South Island is more of a convective one than of a stratus one. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, annually, convective clouds (tall) tend to be found below 35 latitude more often…while low stratus (horizontal) clouds tend to be found more often north of 35 latitude. Considering that about 2/3 of North Island, and ALL of South Island, NZ is above 35 south latitude, that seems strange.

My point about how palms mix with the man made environment is likely more blurred in the southern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere, I think most people could easily tell if a house was in Miami or Seattle. Perhaps (to use a Southern Hemisphere example), the difference between a house in Townsville or Darwin and a house in Dunedin or Christchurch are not as wide. I always thought the typical "Queenslander" stytle was something one would only see in tropical/subtropical Australia.

As far as “plants of tropical origin” I’m a little confused? There is only one palm tree native to New Zealand…so clearly there are no other palms (which are tropical/subtropical in origin) native to or wild in New Zealand. What other plants are of tropical origin that are wild/native to New Zealand?
Weather in NZ is very active. Yesterday here for instance started with cumulus stratus till midday, a clearance with high cirrus. Later in the day ended up with fair weather cumulus cloud . Much of the South Island does get a lot more stratus , but around here it is the exception rather than the rule. Here we can sometimes get 3-4 continuous days of it, but only when there is a high directly above us. This morning we have scattered cirrus, lenticular clouds to the east,and a rapidly departing altocumlus ( I think, clouds can be tricky to pick sometimes) to the north.
There has been towering cumulus 2-3 times in the last week and conditions could suit them today.We have a active sea breeze for six months of the year and mountains that rise sharply. Low pressure systems move rapidly,all create convection and uplift. The skies any else I have been seemed tame in comparison-unless there was a thunderstorm.

You could tell the difference between a house in Dunedin and Darwin, but Dunedin doesn't really do palms (most of the South Island doesn't either) or try to appear "warm". No Queenslanders here, but the 2nd house you showed is a very common look here, minus the palms. Driving heavy rain is the main consideration for NZ house construction

All NZ plants originally evolved in tropical environments, all have adapted to colder conditions. A tree fern or palm is an obvious example, but all other genera have the same origins. Their distant relatives are found in the Pacific islands ,Australia, SE Asia , South America. Any resemblance of here to northern forests is superficial. The PNW vegetation wasn't familiar at all, a quick glance from a distance might give a similar overall look. likewise Kauri forest and cf zone forest. A builder on a site I worked a couple of years ago was from South Carolina,we talked about this very subject. He was big on hunting and the look and feel of the bush was completely different to him. One minute in the NZ bush and you would see that.
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Old 04-21-2011, 03:28 PM
 
Location: motueka nz
504 posts, read 488,339 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom77falcons View Post
Have you been to Palm Springs, CA? Go there and tell me about the light at your maritime latitude 41 compared to the light there. Your sunshine hours are lower than ours here let alone California.
Yes I've been to Palm Springs (May), it was hot and bright, but not a brightness I wasn't used to. The sky just wasn't clear the way it is here. You seem fixated on higher sunshine hours and temperatures, which is not what any of this discussion has been about. Rather than rolling your eyes, you should try and understand the discussion better.
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Old 04-21-2011, 03:55 PM
 
Location: Katy, Texas
861 posts, read 796,391 times
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Sabal mexicana, Texas Palmetto, is native to far southern Texas. Natural hybrids with S. palmetto occur in south east Texas (Brazoria County).
Hawaii has several species of native palms in the Pritchardia genus.
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Old 04-21-2011, 04:10 PM
 
Location: Mid Atlantic USA
6,013 posts, read 3,045,607 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoney63 View Post
Yes I've been to Palm Springs (May), it was hot and bright, but not a brightness I wasn't used to. The sky just wasn't clear the way it is here. You seem fixated on higher sunshine hours and temperatures, which is not what any of this discussion has been about. Rather than rolling your eyes, you should try and understand the discussion better.
I understand the discussion well enough. I'm not buying that your "light" or "brightness" at lat 41, in a maritime climate comes anywhere near Palm Springs. Your opinion on this is completely subjective, and so is mine.
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Old 04-21-2011, 04:21 PM
 
Location: Katy, Texas
861 posts, read 796,391 times
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I agree with Stoney, New Zealand's (and Southern Australia) fauna seems to have evolved from tropical fauna probably because of the oceanic influence and lack of large landmasses nearby. There aren't many if any places in the world where you find Ficus, Mangroves, and tropical monocot familes like Cordylines, Pandanus, and Palms into the mid 30s to 40s latitude.

These Nikau Palms, Rhopalostylis sapida, are growing naturally at 44ºS on the Chatham Islands, therefor they are the most southernly occurring palm species. These palms are hardy only to about the mid to high 20sºF, essentially making them a 9b/10a palm.

Chatham Islands - Palm and Cycad Society of New Zealand
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