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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Brain Freeze

If all this weather has frozen your garden thoughts, there’s always one important task for a day like today. This unruly winter weather is a perfect time to evaluate and understand the microclimates on your property. You may want to come prepared with a compass.

High wind points are easily found at this time of year with depth of snow and drift formations. It shows where the protected locations are within your property during the winter months. There are always variables depending on the direction of particular storm events i.e., the infamous Nor’easters where winds come from the Northeast. For a general rule of thumb: the standard winter prevailing winds come from the northwest; our summer prevailing winds come from the southwest.

That being said, a prevailing wind does not always indicate how air flow impacts or reacts to your particular property. Obstacles or structures i.e., houses, stands of trees, or land forms can redirect the wind. These obstacles or structures can either create protected locations or areas of high wind velocity.
This exercise helps you determine problematic high wind velocity areas where you may be limited to a more bombproof plant palette. It can also identify those protected locations where you may be able to experiment with marginally hardy or delicately structured plant materials.

Don’t make your decisions in a vacuum. Understand the natural factors i.e., the wind dynamics of your site. And as Ethel Merman reminds us, “always give them the old fire, even when you feel like a squashed cake of ice.” Despite these winter storms, brain freezes are not an option. Your gardening thoughts should be cooking on a slow simmer. Use this unruly weather to your advantage. Plus it’s something to ponder while you shovel the drifts.

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© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)