The Pacific Northwest is an ideal climate for growing plants from all over the world. Certain regions of the world have a climate similar to ours and plants from those regions grow especially well here. Those regions include the Mediterranean, New Zealand, Australia, China, Japan, South Africa and Chile.
On the west coasts of all the great land masses of the world and on the warmer sides of the temperate regions (those that are farthest from the poles) lie those sunny lands that nevertheless are not deserts, but, instead, support rich and remarkable floras. There are five such areas of Mediterranean climate: the land bordering the Mediterranean on all sides, our own Pacific Northwest slopes, central Chile, southwestern and southern Australia and a small western portion of the Cape of Good Hope in Southern Africa.
In the northern hemisphere, these areas are roughly centered around 40° latitude. The Pacific Northwest region typically includes the states of Oregon, Washington as well as Northern California and southern British Columbia.
According to many maps of the Pacific Northwest, the region lies in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 7 through 9. Stretching over a long expanse of territory, the climate is influenced by the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains.
The region enjoys two main distinct seasons characterized by a growing season of approximately 200 days, and a last frost date ranging from mid-April to early May. Gardeners in this region are able to grow more perennials than gardeners in any other parts of North America. In fact, this region is famous for its abundant production of tulips, lewisia, daffodils, dahlias, rhododendrons and a host of other plant varieties.
However, carefully selecting plants suited to the Pacific Northwest climate requires a dual approach. Plants will have to be drought tolerant in order to cope with the summer months with little or no rain. They will also have to survive the regular cold rainfall in winter and should be resistant to fungal
diseases (as a result of the high humidity).
(Above info courtesy of the Pacific Horticulture Society’s website and the Elizabeth C Miller Library at the University of Washington. View the Pacific Horticulture page here). Plant images are from our blog.
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