As the old saying goes, if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. In that spirit, I choose to live much of my life in a city with its own natural air conditioning. This has saved most of my plants from the curse of excessive heat.
A History of Cold
I really cannot bear sweltering temperatures. Friends suggest that my climatic preferences have their roots in my Alaskan childhood, and there may be some truth in that. I was born and raised in central Alaska, where temperatures were never elevated.
In my hometown, winters were dark (the sun did not get above the horizon), long (we are talking 9 months), and very cold. When the mercury fell to below -70 degrees F. (-57 C.), we got to stay home from school. That happened every year.
Love of Cool Mornings
When I grew up and could choose my own locale, I picked the San Francisco Bay area as my home. Though the City by the Bay boasts infinite charms, including natural beauty and a warm generosity of spirit, the cool mornings were one of my deciding factors.
Fog. I love fog. I live close enough to the Pacific and the Bay to hear the fog horns, and how I love to be awakened by them, reminding me that the morning will be soft, gray, and cool. I thrive in the cool, moist air of San Francisco mornings. It makes me feel alive and full of energy to face the day.
Many days, the fog clears for the afternoon only to reappear at dusk. Some neighbors hate this and complain about it regularly. I have to admit that it pleases me.
Keeping Plants Cool
With the fog as a reliable visitor, keeping plants cool becomes easier. Rarely do I have to worry about excessive heat overwhelming my garden. While morning cool is followed by hours of afternoon sun, the fog tones down the temperature of the soil all day long.
I should also add that many of my plants are succulents or native plants that live happily in hot sun and are drought tolerant. They usually do just fine no matter what the weather brings. I can happily report that I have never lost a plant to overheating and hope my record continues.