Monday, January 24, 2011

Continuity of Weather

            All cultivated gardens rely on some consistent weather pattern.  The plants we choose are ones we hope will thrive in our local climate.  When we design our garden, we must acknowledge the weather conditions we will cooperate with.

            A harsh, windy site, will, most years, be a harsh, windy site.  If we design a garden that echoes the force of the prevailing wind, the resulting landscape will appear in harmony with the local conditions.  Unsuitable trees, shrubs, and perennials, however we may get them to survive the harsh site, will appear like lightly clad people in a snowstorm.
            Conversely, as much as we might be drawn to the austere landscape of the desert, we cannot realistically expect a desert garden to ‘work’ in a moist, lush, climate.
            In accessing what effect weather will have on our garden design (not on our plants), we need only look around. Coastal weather has a characteristic influence on the shape of growing things.  Mountain weather often highlights the exposed and protected pockets of land.  Bottomland, the prime deep soil of river valleys, reflects the moderating influence of level grounds and ample water.  We may borrow the shape that each of these weather landscapes creates but we can’t borrow the weather.  Ultimately, our garden will respond to the weather that comes our way.  The windblown looking tree in a mountain garden will need constant shaping to keep it from rounding out in our protected, pampered yard.

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