What is a Mediterranean climate?

Adam Fikso adam14113@ameritech.net
Thu, 04 Feb 2010 11:00:35 PST
Michael?  Having now read through your entire posting including Lee 
Poulsen's material.  BRAVO! and thanks.   I think it was more appropriate 
than my posting.  But the underlying principles are the same, and I get 
involved in politics when I can't grow stuff to take my mind off of the snow 
on the ground here.  USDA 5a going up to 6--but Mediterranean, i.e., 
Chicago, the middle of the terra known as the USA.  Meanings and definitions 
do shift. I do expect my Eucomis (planted outside with no mulch)  to come 
through this winter and flower, along with my Crinum 'Ellen Bosanquet'.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Michael Mace" <mikemace@att.net>
To: <pbs@lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Thursday, February 04, 2010 1:31 AM
Subject: [pbs] What is a Mediterranean climate?

> We all know what a Mediterranean climate is -- it's dry warm summers and
> cool wet winters.  But when you look more closely, the details vary from
> region to region.  For example, the specific weather that people call
> "Mediterranean climate" is quite a bit different from the specifics in
> California.
> I'm convinced that many of our struggles to grow bulbs and other plants 
> from
> Mediterranean climates come from an assumption that everything
> "Mediterranean" needs the same basic conditions.
> Lee Poulsen created some fantastic charts a few years ago comparing 
> rainfall
> in various "Mediterranean" cities.  When he graphed the rainfall in those
> cities, he found important differences -- some "Mediterranean" cities 
> still
> get significant amounts of rainfall in the summer, and the length of the
> summer "dry" period varies tremendously.
> Lee's work inspired me to see if I could create climate maps of the
> Mediterranean regions, all formatted the same way, so we could easily
> compare climates from one region to another.  After a lot of work, I've
> finished a draft of the maps and posted them to the wiki, with a detailed
> (maybe too detailed) explanation.
> I haven't linked to the page from the rest of the wiki yet, because I'd 
> like
> to gather comments first.  So the only way to get to the page is to use 
> this
> web address:
> http://pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/…
> Some tidbits from the maps
> --South Africa and Western/Southern Australia have the mildest climates.
> --California probably has the harshest Mediterranean climate.  It has 
> colder
> winters and drier summers than the other regions.
> --Central Chile's pattern is similar to California's, although a bit 
> milder
> in many areas.
> --Coastal Oregon and Washington have weather that resembles a 
> Mediterranean
> pattern in many ways.  Officially, climatologists do not classify them as
> Mediterranean, but for plant-growing purposes I think of them as
> semi-Mediterranean.  The same thing applies to south-central Chile.
> --Europe is a mix of all the other regions.  Spain, southern France, 
> Italy,
> and Morocco/Algeria all have comparatively moist summers.  The Greek 
> islands
> and the Middle East have very dry summers.
> What it all means
> Here's what I think the maps are telling me about growing Mediterranean
> bulbs and plants in California:
> --Why do so many of my South African Amaryllid bulbs need supplemental 
> water
> in the summer?  Because they are used to getting some summer rainfall.
> --Why do many European bulbs naturalize well in gardens that get 
> year-round
> water, when that kills bulbs from places like California?  Because many
> areas in Mediterranean Europe get more summer rain than any other
> Mediterranean region.
> --Why do I have so much trouble growing Australian plants?  Because they 
> are
> used to warmer winters and milder summers than I have in my part of
> California.  Even if I protect them from frost, planting them out in the
> garden with no supplemental water in summer is likely to put them under
> enormous stress.  No wonder they grow better along the mild, damp coast of
> California.
> Questions for you:
> What do you think of the maps?
> Are there errors I need to fix?  Things to add?
> Is this useful?
> Do you think this is appropriate to post on the PBS wiki?
> Thanks in advance for your feedback.
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