Climates of the world

Diane Whitehead
Mon, 25 Nov 2002 22:54:35 PST
In my experience, knowing generalities about the climate of an area can sometimes be worse than knowing nothing.

I had problems trying to grow plants from southern Africa.  I learned what I was doing wrong from a beautiful picture book - Namaqualand Garden of the Gods by Freeman Patterson.  There were the plants that I assumed were dying from cold, so I kept replanting them in unwatered areas, since I knew how dry Namaqualand is.  In the photos, they are growing along streambanks. They do fine for me now that I have planted the new ones next to my automatic sprinkler heads. Photographs can be misleading, though.  That might have been the only time there had ever been water in that area.

I must admit that travel is the best way for me to realize the impossible burden I am putting on some of my plants. For instance, New Mexico in midwinter brilliant light such as my coastal garden never experiences even on the sunniest day of midsummer.  Do my plants need sunlamps?  And Eastern U.S. woodland plants growing between widely-spaced deciduous trees - no wonder they don't like my closely-spaced evergreen forest.  Japan, where the grass is green in the summer and dry in the winter since the rain pattern is the exact opposite of mine.  Now that I really think about it, native plants make a lot of sense.

Diane Whitehead  Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
maritime zone 8
cool mediterranean climate (dry summer, rainy winter - 68 cm annually)
sandy soil

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