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Early Spring Flowers Define Microclimate
Have you ever noticed that the first spring flowers emerge in one particular area of the garden, often blooming before the snow melts? The reason may be its microclimate.
A "microclimate" is the climate of a small area, such as your backyard. Microclimates can vary over very short distances due to variations in the site's topography and the presence of rocks, trees and walls, factors which alter the wind, moisture, temperature and sunlight.
For example, on the southern side of your home, the ground receives more warming sunlight than the shady north side. Direct sunlight plus its reflection off the building often keeps the earth close to it warm and free of snow.
Why does only a small patch near a building or rock wall bloom early? The answer lies in factors which heat the patch and keep it warmer when the sun is no longer shining. Generally the building's materials rock, brick or concrete collect and hold the solar heat, releasing it slowly during the night. This keeps minimum temperatures in an acceptable range while, only a few feet further away, temperatures fall too low for young sprouts to survive.Not only is the temperature of the soil in that sunny patch warmer than more shaded areas, the soil should be drier as well not totally dry but also not saturated. Warm soil, strong sunlight and the right moisture content provide good conditions for young plants to emerge and grow.
If you understand your garden's microclimate, you can enjoy early Spring flowers by planting in optimum locations. A weather eye and a green thumb: they go together.
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