Chronicaling the lunacy of taming three acres in Tidewater Virginia, one square foot at a time!

"Gardens... should be like lovely, well-shaped girls: all curves, secret corners, unexpected deviations, seductive surprises and then still more curves. ~H.E. Bates, A Love of Flowers


Monday, April 5, 2010

A Little Refuge- A Little Macro-A Little Micro

The front of the beach house faces south and is protected from the northeast wind by the house next door...it makes for an interesting microclimate that keeps things warm and alive in winter and quickly summertime when it is only spring. The whole microclimate concept is really interesting to consider as I make my way around my gardens...it can spell success or failure depending on how much I think about it when planting.

By definition, a microclimate is the climate of a small, specific place within an area as contrasted with the climate of the entire area, or the "macroclimate," aka, USDA Plant Hardiness Zone. The term may refer to areas as small as a few square feet (like my south facing area) or as large as many square miles (for example a valley). On this barrier island, there are microclimates galore! I can be sweltering in the garden ~2 blocks from the beach while at the oceanfront especially with a seabreeze over the 48 degree water, the microclimate can turn to winter in a few blocks!

So in my happy little microclimate, I have thriving Osteospermum. They love, love, love this location rewarding me with cheerful blooms everytime I pull into the driveway.

The Hens and Chicks seem to like that microclimate also judging from the proliferation going on.
The morning dew rapidly evaporated, and a relaxing day was spent at the beach. The 48 degree water did not keep the teenagers from making a "polar plunge." Luckily the microclimate featured a westerly wind that thawed them out quickly!


After dinner, the need to escape from a house filled with teenagers took GoddessSupport and I to another favorite place, The Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, to take a stab at some sunset pictures.
The Refuge is host to thousands if migratory birds coming and going in all directions. Just a few weeks ago the place was loaded with tundra swans and snow geese as far as the eye could see. Now all that was left was one pair of snow geese who seemed to even have the seagulls wondering why they remain.

Another species that is found in large numbers is the red winged black birds. We spied this pied bird as we walked.

The Red-winged Blackbird is omnivorous. It feeds primarily on plant materials, including seeds from weeds. About a quarter of its diet consists of insects and other small animals. It prefers insects, such as dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies, moths, and flies, but also consumes snails, frogs, eggs, carrion, worms, spiders, mollusks. The Red-winged Blackbird forages for insects by picking them from plants, or by catching them in flight. (Not too many mollusks in flight!) All of this in abundance in the Pea Island Refuge...they should all be fat and happy there!
I am not certain what these are, but they were blooming all over the trail.Not much gardening going on, but grateful to have found a place I love so much, and someone to share it with.

2 comments:

Dirty Girl Gardening said...

Fabulous pics... love the sunset one. Very cool...

The Idiot Gardener said...

Wet, cold, dry, warm, hot.

That's all I know about climate! No wonder all my seedlings are collapsing!