Microclimate: You Can Grow That!

Gardening requires both long- and short-focus in order to determine your garden’s “neighborhoods.” Close to the house, you have Phoenix, or the warmest region in the land. It can take the form of early-sprouting bulbs, tiny plants in low places, or blooms that don’t seem to realize it’s winter.
A bit further away you can either plunge right into Siberia or glide into a zone made warmer by surrounding trees and structures. Our garden’s former caretaker wanted privacy from the neighbors and installed a line of yews and arborvitae along the entire eastern edge of the property line. When we moved in we put up a five to six-foot wooden fence along the western edge of the lot to keep our dogs safe.

Another game-changer in pushing the zone envelope is concrete and its relatives, cement and brick. An interesting article about Heat Islands explains the concept in a much larger scope.

Rosa 'Popcorn Drift' takes on a different coloration
in cold weather
I’m not saying I’m the only one in the Midwest to have enjoyed a last-minute bask in the warmth of an unseasonably balmy December weekend. But I did notice the closer I was to the house and the brick patio, the warmer it was.

Today's my birthday, and the warmest since I can remember. The best gift of all are the plants still hanging on in the garden. I'll take them over a bouquet of florist roses any old day.

6 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday, Jean! Thanks for this nice article on microclimates. I found out this summer that growing lettuce in my new wooden planter boxes on my deck was a BAD idea--they hated the heat.

    Have a wonderful day and year--I'm working on my You Can Grow That post, and I think you'll like it--it's about Amaryllis.

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    1. Yes, Benita. I guess microclimates can also be a bad thing in the summer. Except then, I guess I'd call them something like "heat pockets."

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  2. Happy Birthday Jean, I hope you are having a nice day! I would love to have a microclimate. Our land is on the edge of the village, it is just grass no trees. We need to start growing hedges to keep the wind out so I can start growing all these lovely plants and flowers I have seen on YCGT! Lovely roses!!

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    1. Laila - If you DO plant evergreens as hedges, make sure you plant them as shelter from winter wind and not from summer light, especially if they grow tall. Thanks for the comment!

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  3. Happy Birthday! Out here on Cape Cod, it's been unusually warm this past week. I'm wondering if we will have another winter like last year. We had Daffodils coming up in February last winter in some of our micro-climates.
    I guess we'll see?

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  4. Great reminder ... utilizing microclimates can encourage spring blooming bulbs to flower earlier. My crocus, planted next to south-facing granite steps, always bloom earlier than those planted farther away from any hardscape. Hope you had a happy birthday.

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