Tony Tomeo: Humidity is the other time | Home & Garden
It’s hard to always ignore the weather. No matter how nice it usually is here, sometimes it gets hot or cold. It is sometimes hot or cold. The rain is wet and maybe messy. A breeze is comforting on a hot day. Strong wind can be damaging. However, humidity is a major component of local weather that receives little consideration.
Humidity is taken into account more in uncomfortably humid or arid climates. Parts of Florida become simultaneously humid and hot in the summer. Certain flora and insects appreciate this climate. Unfortunately for the rest of us, humidity increases the already unpleasant heat. Locally, hot or hot weather is rarely bothersome humidity.
Likewise, the local climate is rarely unpleasantly arid (lack of humidity). It is a chaparral climate, which is “semi-arid”. Relatively minimal humidity makes heat a little more tolerable than it would be with more humidity. Still, the humidity is usually sufficient to maintain the foliage which would dry out in a more arid desert situation. In fact, it is an excellent climate.
Although it is not perfect. The flora and fauna have different standards for an exemplary climate and weather. The relatively minimal humidity that makes uncomfortably hot weather a bit more tolerable for humans and animals is much less appealing to some plants. With the exception of those that are native to desert or chaparral climates, most plants prefer more humidity.
Many popular plants are undergrowth plants, which naturally live in the partial shade of taller vegetation. Sheltered from dry winds and direct sunlight (to increase heat), most are not afraid of heat. Otherwise, the foliage could roast. Those with finely textured foliage, such as astilbe, ferns, grasses and some Japanese maples, are particularly susceptible.
Some tropical and subtropical plants, such as the split-leaf philodendron and fuchsia, prefer to be understory plants here, although they would prefer more exposure within their natural ecosystems. The shelter provided by more resistant vegetation compensates for the lack of humidity. In addition, adequate irrigation promotes healthy hydration of the delicate foliage.
Highest point: Nasturtium
Whether wild or intentionally planted, the nasturtium, Trapaeolum majus (which is actually a hybrid with two other species) is a delicious flower that almost everyone enjoys. Its eagerness to sow oneself and possibly to naturalize in riparian situations attests to its ease of cultivation. Seeds of many varieties are readily available. Wild plants provide wild seeds.
The flowering of the domestic nasturtium can be of different shades, shades and shades of yellow, orange or red. The flowers can be striped or speckled in colors of the same range. Some are double. The paler yellow is almost creamy white. The darkest red is almost brown. Wild plants, after a few generations, usually return to flowering with a simple bright orange or yellow.
The plants are more or less annual, but can replace themselves almost as easily as they die. Those that occur in spring and summer succumb to the cool fall weather, as their (wild) seedlings begin to replace them for fall and winter. Those that operate during winter may succumb to frost where winters turn cool, but also sow wild seeds for next spring.