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I'm looking at a possible move to Ayrshire in Scotland from Hereford. I'm aware that the temperature tends to be lower up there and that the summers are a bit shorter, but I'm not sure how the change of location will really effect my gardening. I love growing herbs and am hoping that I will still be able to do this successfully. Can anyone offer some advice as to what differences I can expect and any problems I might encounter.
Thanks in anticipation
Hi, Twinkletoes. I live just 6 miles from Ayr, and 7 from the coast. Moved here 7 yrs ago from Lancashire. I have found that I can grow everything that I could down there.
This yr we have often had days that were sunny when everyone else had rain and cold! Yes, our summers can be a wee bit shorter, but we have sun in the evenings for around an hour or more longer, so I get to stay out playing in the garden till around 11pm at the height of summer, which makes up for it somewhat! I have had some of the best tans of my life as early as March some yrs, but have learned never to let that fool me into putting plants out too early, as we do get some late frosts. Funnily, it was visiting my grandfather in Hereford as a child that gave me my interest in gardening!
As always, a lot will depend on your soil and the aspect of your garden. I can grow some quite tender plants, as long as I plant away from the deep winter shade at the back of the house, as my soil is very stony, so well-drained. In summer, my prob is growing shade loving plants, as we have very little then.
As to your herbs, most will grow well here away from frost pockets, as long as they are well established before winter. I did lose rosemary and sage this yr, but they were planted too close to the house, and we had a much colder and wetter winter than previously. They had survived a very snowy winter 2 yrs ago. I had fed surrounding plants quite a lot, and I think thier growth was too soft for the winter.
One other problem can be the wind, again depending on the garden itself.
However, those are all the bad points! There are many good points to living in Ayrshire, and I would never move back to England unless forced. The people are very friendly, we have lots of gorgeous countryside, our choice of sandy or rocky beaches not far away, beautiful gardens to visit, woods and forests, and still some small pockets of red squirrels (for now, anyway, unless the greys take over completely) The northern lights can also be seenquite well from some parts of Ayrshire, so I am told, although I have not seen them yet.
I seem to remember Hereford being a beautiful part of the country, very similar to a lot of Ayrshire, so what is bringing you here, if you don't mind me asking?
I live in Ayr, moved here 2 years ago and just got my first proper garden. Ayrshire is a great place to live and we benefit from the gulf steam, so we have a milder climate than other parts of Scotland.
Not much else I can add i think jeannie has covered it all!
Hi twinkletoes, I'm south of Glasgow and not far from the east side of Ayrshire. We have a shorter season which is the main difference and although we get long cold winters up here the big difference is that we have wet cold so getting the soil in good shape for better drainage is the key especially for herbs. I grow all the usual Mediterranean ones without any problem!
And the tatties are world class!
OOOOOOh Yes. ayrshire tatties beat jersey royals any day of wk!
Hi Twinkletoes. The others have said it all. There is at least one herb nursery in Ayrshire, so it must be possible, but be prepared for windy and wet conditions (depending on which part you choose) and don't concentrate on those needing hot dry summers.
Hi, Norman. Where is the herb nursery, please?
Hello gardenjeannie, we can't be too far apart. From memory ( I'm sorry I made the statement without checking it is curent) it is/was in the Barr/Barrhill area several years ago.
If by the sea in Ayrshire then you will have the milding affect of salt air and the Gulf Stream but that will only extend a mile or so inland. Summer light is longer (up to 21 hours of potential sunshine in late June) but converse only 6 hours sunlight in winter. As far as I know inland Ayrshire is quite hilly and gets bad snow at times. West coast is also very wet and rainy and prone to cloud, further east you go the drier and sunnier it is. Further north and higher you go the colder it is - Aberdeenshire gets snow most years.
Metoffice has some stats on Scotland:
The driest place in Scotland is around the Firth of Forth (Fife and Lothians) which is close to the driest place in England - so it is not all wet and doom and gloom.
A pal in Inverness has consistently better weather than I do in Derbyshire.
We're about 10 miles NW of Inverness as the crow flies & the area all around the Moray Firth has a far better climate than just a few miles inland. As you go inland you start ascending & friends 40 miles south of Inverness have had frosts in August .
I'm just guessing, but should think that in winter Ayrshire would not be colder than Hereford, I've always thought that the Welsh border areas are quite cold in the winter, being hilly and a long way inland. (But hot in summer). Ayr itself is on the coast so would expect it to be milder; I have rellies in Galloway & they rarely get snow, but boy do they get winds! When I was young we visited an aunt in Stranraer & my Mum was fascinated by her method of pegging out the washing - 2 pegs always where 1 would normally be used.
The long summer evenings are lovely but having lived SW of London for decades before moving up here what I miss most is the earlier spring there. Parts of our north facing back garden seem to take ages to thaw out.
As for herbs, they certainly grow up here; www.poyntzfieldherbs.co.uk/
Try & do some winter visiting first?
I agree with everything said here. Just move. You'll love it!
I started getting nervous about the herb nursery and have made enquiries with a former work colleague. The name is Barwinnoch Herbs, Barrhill , but he tells me that passing the farm recently the sign was not in evidence, so herb growing may not have been too successful after all. Apologies for the false trail.
If you want a great selection of plants at much cheaper than GCs go to McLaren's Nursery near Lugton on the Irvine to Barrhead road (Lochlibo Rd). I go there for virtually all my plants. Massive selection of plants (25% off just now!) It's about half an hour from Ayr -less if you're East Ayrshire - same distance for me. I used to stay just along the road from it.