Microclimates 101

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When I was in design school we had a project analyzing a historic landscape in rural, rural North Arkansas. Our landscape architecture class (all 6 of us) drove out to beautiful Boxley Valley, a long, scenic valley with historic homes and churches, woodlands and pastures along the Buffalo National River. When we emerged from our tents the next morning our instructor pointed out the tent near ours that was covered with frost. Ours, under the pines, was not. That lesson on microclimates stuck with me better than most things lectured to me in the classroom.
OK, so you may garden in Zone 7B, but that is a vague guide to tell you what to expect. Within your property are several little climates with varying degrees of moisture, sunlight, wind and more. A gardener learns these subtleties as they spend time in their garden. Heard the old phrase – gardeners move a plant about three times? That is because a plant that is suffering in one area of your garden may thrive about 10 feet away. Part of gardening is this discovery. Understanding your microclimates doesn’t take deep scientific anaysis – it takes observation and getting to know your garden. And every gardener will kill a few plants in the process. And with every plant, with every afternoon in the garden you will understand a little more and become a better gardener.

Loves Notes from the Garden

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