The mediterranean climates of the world
While gardeners around the world usually find any garden discussion of interest, the focus of this blog centers on the mediterranean climates of the world.  Just over 2% of the earth’s surface, these regions are none-the-less often considered desirable places due to their mild winters and large number of sunny days (some boast over 300!).  Because of the latter, the annual rainfall totals are low and most, if not all, of the summer months are dry (a full ½ of the year in my region).

Traditionally, those coming from other, colder winter climates consider mediterranean climates to be a tropical paradise, only lacking water which, of course, can be supplied by various engineering and/or technical means.  The truth that is becoming evident these days is that this is largely unsustainable, as well as not as effective as originally thought.  Plants from summer rainfall regions are not really fooled by our trickery and often fail to thrive even under expertly modified conditions.

Comparison of the summer-dry mediterranean climate (left) with the more common summer rainfall climate (right). The blue represents rainfall totals, the yellow high temperatures, where they intersect is green representing when the right conditions are available for plant growth. The mediterranean dry summer is effectively the dormant season for that climate.

Perhaps surprisingly,  mediterranean climate regions hold approximately 20% of the earth’s known plant species,  obviously already adapted to these conditions!  Many of these plant species are already in our gardens and will continue to grow on their own even when neglected by gardeners.  Many more have not been adequately tested in gardens or for their potential use by humans (though a large number were used int he past by indigenous peoples and immigrants who had to make use of local resources).

Promulgating the awareness of this unique climate has become a strong interest of mine and this blog is part of that effort.  I welcome anyone interested in the plants and landscapes of mediterranean regions but will continue to maintain the specific climate focus in order to be of most use in helping gardeners in this rare climate understand “where they are and where they are not” (as South Australian author Trevor Nottle is fond of saying).

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A blog by Seán A. O'Hara

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