Bulbs for Mediterranean Gardens--TOW

Cynthia Mueller c-mueller@tamu.edu
Tue, 18 Mar 2003 07:36:40 PST
Where does Central Texas fit into the Mediterranean climate scenario?  We have summer days usually always 90 - 100 F, with nights not dropping below 80 - 82F most of the time (which curtails the survival of plants such as pelargoniums).  Rainfall in the summer is scattered, but sometimes there will be periods of drizzle/rain for a week or more, which is very rough on rosemary, lavender, lemon verbena, succulents, aloes, yuccas, which can rot under these circumstances.  Species gladiolus are also vulnerable to these irregular wet spells.  When this does not occur, and watering can be done on a controlled basis, everything is fine.

Another 'climactic change' has occurred in my area because almost every home has an irrigation system, which sometimes is too thoroughly wetting flower beds on a continual basis.  Rainlilies, in particular, are not triggered to have 'bursts' of bloom under these conditions.  It appears that bulbs such as Scilla peruviana have to be lifted in June and not replanted until late fall.  The extreme heat of summer must blast the developing flower buds.  Hippeastrums can live outdoors successfully in all but the worst winters (dropping to 8F on one occasion, which killed everything in above-ground containers, and froze bulbs down to the basal place that were in the ground.

Who could let me know if Central Texas can be included in the concept of 'Mediterranean gardens?'

>>> msittner@mcn.org 03/17/03 01:50PM >>>
Dear All,

The topic for the next two weeks is Bulbs for Mediterranean Gardens. I hope 
everyone who lives in a Mediterranean climate will tell us a little about 
their specific microclimate and then the geophytes that do really well, 
blooming reliably each year, that can be planted in the ground and left.

California's Mediterranean climate is divided into three subdivisions:
Csa. Climate with hot summers, the highest monthly temperature averaging 
over 72 degress F. (22 degrees C.) that includes what we can the Valley 
(Sacramento, Stockton, Fresno) and Los Angeles
Csb. Climate with moderate to warm summers, the highest monthly temperature 
averaging below 72 degrees F. (22 degrees C.) and including Santa Rosa, 
Santa Barbara, and Long Beach
Csc. Coastal areas that have cool summers with frequent fogs like San 
Francisco, Santa Cruz, Monterey and Eureka

We have members from all three of these subdivisions and we have people 
from western Australia and other areas of Australia with this climate and 
people from the Mediterranean basin. Rachel is out collecting so we won't 
hear from her. So please tell us what works for you and give others ideas 
of new things to try in their gardens.

Although my rainfall is a higher than the criteria listed, otherwise I fit 
and since I live on the first ridge, just a couple of miles away close to 
sea level, the 15 year rainfall averages are within the norm and 20 inches 
(7.8cm.) lower than my rainfall. So later in the week when I catch my 
breath I will share about what grows happily for me with little attention 
in the ground.

Jerry mentioned when I announced this topic that some of the areas of the 
Pacific Northwest had a Mediterranean climate. Much of the Pacific 
Northwest is much colder in winter and some of it wetter and there are 
areas I believe that do get rain in summer. But if you live in Washington, 
Oregon, or BC and didn't tell us about what grows for you when we discussed 
Bulbs for the Pacific Northwest and your microclimate has a Medit pattern 
feel free to share. The same goes for anyone else who feels their garden 
fits the pattern.

Mary Sue
PBS List Administrator and TOW Coordinator

Mary Sue Ittner
California's North Coast
Wet mild winters with occasional frost
Dry mild summers

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