The summer solstice is nearly here. In north Wales, that means that the sun is up for 17hrs a day (even if we can’t see it because of clouds…); the nights are never really dark; the sun rises in the north east and sets in the north west; and it climbs to a height of 60 degrees above the horizon at its peak.
By contrast, at the winter solstice, the sun is only up for about seven and a half hours; it rises in the south east, setting in the south west; and it barely manages to climb more than 17 degrees above the horizon.
In garden planning, it’s important to consider the paths that the sun takes across the sky through the year. Most growing is done between April and August and parts of a garden which might seem too shady for production during the winter will, in fact, receive plenty of sunshine during the growing season.
There are lots of tools on the internet to help calculate the path of the sun. Or, if you have time, you can just watch the way the sun moves through the seasons and then plan a garden to fit with that.
Funnily, I’ve noticed that estate agents almost always say that a garden is south facing – apparently it increases the value of a property. And in a way it’s true – from some point in any garden you can always face south and who’s to say which way a garden actually “faces” anyway!