Climate and Terrain
The Gardens are situated on the Wirral
Peninsula, which lies between the Dee and Mersey estuaries.
The western edge of Wirral lies in the path of moist,
south-westerly winds, but it is also in the lee of the North Wales
mountains. This reduces the amount of annual rainfall it receives
to about 75cm (30 inches). Although wetter than the east coast of
England, it is still one of the driest districts on the west coast.
The area also experiences fewer and less severe frosts than the
Cheshire Plain because of its proximity to the coast. Prevailing
winds tend to spare Ness from industrial haze, so plants are not
seriously affected by pollution.
The Gardens are situated on and around a sandstone promontory with
variable soils. The higher areas of the Gardens on the sandstone
ridges have thin, acid, well-drained sandy soils, whereas the lower
areas are on lime-rich clays.
When Arthur Bulley first bought the site, it was open and
windswept. However, the Gardens are now quite sheltered by Bulley's
plantings of Lombardy Poplars, Holm Oaks, Scots and Black Pines.
More recently planted Leyland Cypress, Italian Alder and Common
Holly on the perimeter, and the growth of trees and shrubs within
the Gardens, have created some very sheltered areas. The terraces
in particular, located on a south-facing slope, sit in a sun trap
where plants grow that would not survive in other parts of the