Re: Mediterranean Oregon?
At 07:08 PM 5/13/2006, Paul Russo wrote:
Last summer while vacationing in Eugene Oregon, I noticed many varieties
of Mediterranean plants...tall palm trees and agaves etc. I was quite
suprised. The summer climate felt very Mediterranean-sunny, dry. I stopped
by the U. of Oregon library and did alittle research and discovered that
western Oregon is considered a Northern Mediterranean climate zone, about
the same latitude as Genoa Italy. Palm trees in Oregon? Yes, all over the
place, in Portland too. Several Mediterranean palm species thrive in
Seattle and Vancouver BC as well. When I told my friends back in New
Jersey, I got sceptical looks, I don't think they believed me.
Hi Paul -
Well, a few species of palm grow in Southern NJ too...
Technically, according to most climatologists, the mediterranean region
does indeed extend into Oregon from Northern California. The California
Floristic Province, which basically represents the mediterranean climate
region on the west coast, extends into North of California into Oregon and
South into Baja California. The Rogue River of Southern Oregon definitely
has a very 'California look' with many of the plants typical of the Province.
Portland, at the Northern edge of Oregon, while often seen as very similar
to a mediterranean climate, is generally not classified as such. There are
many proponents of 'reclassifying' this area, notably Sean Hogan of Cistus
Nursery and Landscape Design (www.cistus.com), but even he bills his
business as "your home for zonal denial". The recent observations of
global warming worldwide may be responsible inspiring this type of
thinking. There are a variety of 'mediterranean like' places in the world
- Vancouver Island in British Columbia (farther North still), being in the
rain shadow of the Olympic Peninsula, creating relatively drier summers
than adjacent areas, is one of these places.
Regarding Portland being the same latitude as Genoa, Italy - latitude alone
does not achieve the mediterranean climate effect. Genoa is a port on the
warm Mediterranean Sea, which increases the winter and summer temperatures
of the landmasses that border its shores. The Riviera, French and Italian,
are also backed by the Alps, which hold the cold northern effect
back. This area is the most extreme latitude (close to the poles) of all
the mediterranean climate world regions because of these factors. In fact,
the warm temperature of the Mediterranean Sea that is responsible for the
mediterranean climate effect extending so far east (all other mediterranean
regions lie along the oceans that define them).
Other similar regions can certainly learn from techniques we find useful in
the mediterranean climate, and even within the technically accurate
definition of the region there are numerous microclimates which have their
unique idiosyncrasies. We all need to evaluate the site in which we are
creating a garden and use what approaches make the most sense for our
I hope this helps answer your query.
h o r t u l u s _ a p t u s - - - - - 'a garden suited to its purpose'
Seán A. O'Hara --- sean(at)gimcw.org --- www.hortulusaptus.com
1034A Virginia Street, Berkeley, California 94710-1853, U.S.A.