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    Gee, and I thought there was a lot of chat about microclimates up here in Nevada County--but we're talking about changes based on many hundreds of feet in elevation.

    The Bay Area fixation on tiny differences sounds excellent for garden designer business!

    Wayne Stratz

    I seem to be in a different microclimate everyday. what to do what to do.... I am going to panic.

    some years the rosemary survives, some years it doesn't, some years plants right next to each other disagree on survival.

    rob (our french garden)

    There are numerous micro-climates here at Le Banquet. So numerous in fact that it's difficult to know what to wear. That said, the south facing side of the old tobacco drying barn is so warm I like to sleep there!

    Susan (garden-chick)

    Daffodil Planter - good observation. And I am certainly not above capitalizing on other's confusion as a means to grow my business.

    Wayne - yes, the classic gardening mystery of the "last year I loved it here, but this year I hate it" plant. The best arguement yet that plants really are self-aware (and clearly channeling the personality of cats rather than dogs).

    Rob - The "Ideal for napping" microclimate. Now that's a climate zone system I can really get behind!



    I love it! Lots of microclimates here, the trick is figuring out how to work with them to push the envelope on plants. I think a talented gardener will probably intuitively know which spot will work for which plant-because of being sheltered, the bottom of a hill, top of hill, north side of a building or whatever and really work those microclimates. A thing we would all do well to consider in my humble opinion as they do exist!


    P.S. Thanks for the link.


    I have a couple of weather feeds on my computer that use weather stations about 5 miles apart. A while back I noticed that the temperature readings were amazingly different on some days, even though both stations were a quarter mile from the water, and I started logging some of the days. Sometimes the difference was like 10 or more degrees--talk about microclimates! Of course, like you're saying, even a single yard has its zones. A plant may be pampered in one location and doomed to a slow end in another...

    Susan (garden-chick)

    James (lostlandscape),
    It makes my head hurt to think about this stuff to hard. Do you mean you have an ET controller? I installed a Toro Intellisense in October, but the Weather Trac data station data goes straight to the controller and I assume treats my whole landscape the same (other than the differences I programmed in).

    Just got my first two month water bill and it went down from over 400 gallons last year to around 150 since the ET controller was installed. However, the irrigation check I asked one of the contractors I work with to do turned up a slow leak in the front, so that is probably most of the savings.


    They didn't used to be called microclimates...just the soggy place in the yard that never quite dried out or the section of garden that got more of the hot western sun. I guess we now feel the overwhelming need to label everything.

    susan (garden-chick)

    Hi Tina - missed your post last night. "The trick is figuring to push the envelopes on plants." Have to laugh, because most gardeners I know do not need any help with this one! The wishful thinking approach has led to many a plant winding up in the wrong place, although every once in a while the strategy works.

    Inadvertent farmer - Yes, exactly! I guess it's true that everything old is new again, and we do love our labels. After I finish updating my blogging, I am going to retire to my vertical relaxation unit (recliner) and enjoy a container of a mildly mood enhancing substance (glass of wine).


    This post is so delightful. You hit the nail on the head and is a wonderful satire on gardens( gardeners) having multiple micro-climates.
    I am laughing about this, as one could have a little fun with this.
    All very thought provoking with some humor.
    Best regards,


    Perhaps Sunset has actually short changed us, after all, USDA has broken it's zones into a and b designations, why not Sunset? I could be bragging about my zone 16a microclimate! Sheese, they could further and make a, b,and c. I could be gardening in an upper level thermal belt, inquiring minds want to know.

    Thanks for such a fun post!

    susan (garden-chick)

    Philip - Thanks for your comments. I spend so much time either with clients or in seminars and classes lecturing or being lectured about the seriousness of sustainable gardens, I can't resist a little fun now and then.

    Michelle - (if this IS Michelle and not some schill for Sunset). Even more zones! If things go down the path you suggest garden design could really become complicated. "You put the barbecue in zone 16b? Oh please, that's only for growing herbs! We prefer to cook in zone 16d-72."


    B/c I have a smallish 1/4 acre lot, I don't think I have much in the way of microclimates, but I do know that a few hundred yards from here on the next street, there is a patch that is always about 5 degrees colder than the surrounding air, no matter what time of year. There is a small creek that runs by the houses and I think that does make it colder. But by a whole zone? No way.

    PS - Found your blog b/c of Daffodil Planter (DP) and am instantly smitten. Glad to meet your acquantaince!

    Sarah from Toronto Gardens

    So funny, and interesting to learn about southwestern garden trends, particularly this Sunset Magazine zone thing.

    In the north we long for microclimates, which usually means one thing: "a warmish spot that also has good snow cover".

    Finding one means we might have success with some longed for plant like Foxtail lilies, Acanthus, or Red Hot Poker.

    Since it seems can you can grow practically anything (except hostas and peonies) in California, I'm wondering what all the microclimate craziness is about there? Areas of slightly soggy soil?

    It's true we can grow a lot in California, but cooler coastal folks dream of roses that need more sun and fruit trees that need colder winters, while more volatile inlanders like myself want Angels Trumpets prone to winter freeze and Japanese Maples that won't burn in the sun. So just like curly-haired girls want straight hair and vice versa, hunting for microclimates in our garden helps us believe we can grow things we really can't. Plus, "my microclimate killed it" is a good excuse for untimely plant death.

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