90925thumbThe climate here is pretty cool, at least in winter. Right now, it is pleasantly warm. It does not often get uncomfortably cold or hot, and when it does, it does not stay like that for too long. In between the warmest days of summer, the nights typically cool off nicely. In between the coolest nights of winter, the days typically warm up nicely. Humidity is normally minimal. Rain is adequate in season.

We have here what is known as a ‘Mediterranean’ climate. Obviously, it is similar to many climates of the Mediterranean Basin. Beyond the Mediterranean region, there are not many other places in the World that enjoy such reliably temperate weather. Most of such places are in southern and southwestern Australia, the Western Cape of South Africa, central Chile, and evidently, right here.

This particular region of Mediterranean climate is quite large, and extends into northern Baja California. Native plants know how to live here, and many of those that are adaptable to landscapes and home gardens can survive quite nicely with little or no irrigation. Some exotic (non-native) plants want climates with more warmth in summer, more chill in winter, or more rain through the year.

The best, as well as the worst, exotic plant species for local landscapes are those that are native to other Mediterranean climates.

The worst are those that are so happy in the local climate that they naturalize and become invasive to native ecosystems. Without pathogens or competing species that inhibited their proliferation within their respective native ranges, many naturalized species are detrimentally aggressive in ecosystems that they invade. Pampas grass, broom and Acacia dealbata are familiar examples.

The best exotics are not so threatening. Australian fuchsia, kangaroo paw, coprosma, westringia, bottle brush, grevillea, dracaena palm and eucalyptus originated from Australia. Lemon verbena, mayten and some salvias are from Chile. African iris, lily-of-the-Nile, bird-of-Paradise and all of the aloes came from South Africa. Olive, oleander, cistus, and all the lavenders are Mediterranean.

6 thoughts on “Mediterranean Climate Is Something Special

  1. It must be lovely to live in such a welcoming climate, whether you’re a human or a plant. The odd time I have visited your part of the world (or thereabouts) I felt taken aback because so many of the plants and flowers I could see flourishing were unfamiliar. I am used to having a little plant knowledge to fall back on, but found myself thinking “I wonder what that is?” over and over again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is like that for everyone. It may seem like more grows here because it is unfamiliar. However, there are any things that prefer warmer summers or more of a chill. I find that there a just as an things to grow in the Pacific Northwest, but that many are unfamiliar because they are not happy here.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Tony, I enjoyed your familiar and affectionate description of your Mediterranean climate. Once again you had me consulting google, this time for the identity of “Australian fuchsia”- which we would call coastal heath or Epacris. All the other exotics you mention are familiar and often seen in Australia. We’re suffering terribly from drought at the moment- spring is here but it definitely hasn’t sprung.

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    1. When I was in school, we learned that large parts of Australia had climates that are similar to California climates. However, I later found that only minor parts (relative to the vastness of the continent) are similar. Adelaide supposedly has a climate that is similar to that of San Jose.

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