Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Sunday, April 10, 2016


I recently posted about the warm, early spring turning decidedly chilly, with a few hard freezes predicted. Well, the freezes materialized, but the damage to my plants showed, I think, the effects of microclimates.  What are microclimates?  Well, our modern, go-to source (Wikipedia) defines it as "a local atmospheric zone where the climate differs from the surrounding area. The term may refer to areas as small as a few square meters or square feet (for example a garden bed) or as large as many square kilometers or square miles."

You likely have several microclimates in your yard, like against a brick or stone wall, a dip in the ground, near a water feature, or the shelter of shrubs.  I noted a few microclimates in my yard after this freeze: the few fig branches against my brick chimney did not get zapped by the freeze while the rest of the new growth on the tree did; an azalea growing amid another shrub showed no damage, but the others had partial damage and; the lower branches of shrubs nearer concrete were less damaged than higher branches. 

And this?

This azalea had layers and pockets of frost damage.  I am not sure if this was related to microclimates or to the flowers being at different stages of development with different susceptibility to damage (which, I guess, could also be from microclimates!). The beige areas are blasted flower buds, while opened flowers, both above and below, seem fine.

1 comment:

Anita said...

I never thought about this, but it makes perfect sense. Now I'll be looking for differences in our individual shrubs.