Gardens Are Affected By Climate And Weather

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Weather - is the combination of rainfall, temperature, wind sunshine and air humidity which affects your garden at a particular point in time.

Climate - is the summing up of the weather that is likely to affect your garden throughout the year. The climate maps of your area can be used as a rough guide only. They provide averages over many years rather than telling you the extremes of climatic conditions which you are likely to enjoy (or suffer) during a particular year. Furthermore, the general climate of your region can be much modified by factors around the garden (the local climate) and the factors around each plant (the microclimate).

General climate.
The general climate supplies a rough guide to the weather you can expect in your garden. In Britain it varies from nearly sub-tropical (S.W. coastal areas) to almost sub-arctic (N.Scottish highlands). The general climate is controlled by the latitude, altitude, direction of the prevailing wind as well as closeness to the sea. The effect of latitude is obvious to everyone, southern gardens are warmer than northern ones. The effect of being close to the sea is equally recognized, western coastal gardens are kept virtually frost-free by the Gulf Stream. Less well known is the effect of small increases in altitude and the plant-damaging effect of salt in coastal areas for as much as 5 miles inland.

Local climate.
The local climate is the modified type of general climate. It is controlled by:
Slope - a south facing sloping site starts its growing season about 1 week before a level plot.
Openness - nearby trees and bushes will cast shade and reduce solar energy, but they do also reduce the damaging effect of high gusts of wind.
Proximity of buildings - town gardens are affected in many ways by the closeness of walls, houses etc. Walls cast shadows and thus reduce solar energy, these can also cast rain shadows and so decrease rainfall. Walls affect the temperature, heat is released at night and south facing walls can potentially form a sun trap.
Soil type - frosts tend to be more likely to occur over sandy soils than over heavy ones.
Proximity of water - a nearby large lake can have a cooling effect on hot summer days.

Micro climate - The is the customized kind of local climate in the immediate vicinity of a plant. Large variations can occur from one part of your garden to a different part. Nearby walls and hedges or overhanging plants will obviously result in less light and less rainfall than in an open garden, the effect of this rain shadow can be to cut the water supply to only 25% of the rainfall in an open garden. On the credit side the effect of nearby walls and plants is to reduce the chance of frost on clear, still nights and to scale back the harmful effect of wind. The overall climate cannot, however, be changed. The local climate is usually impossible to alter but they can often be improved by introducing cloches or windbreaks.

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Author: Kane Ashley
I have been involved with the Do-It-Yourself and Gardening industry for over 30 years. So I think now is the time to spread the good word around about Landscape Gardeners operating within in the UK. Most of them are fantastic. I have worked for one company for over 20 years.

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