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The Summer-Dry Project

Articles: The Summer-Dry Project

Hylotelephium spectabile ‘Autumn Joy’ (formerly Sedum spectabile ‘Autumn Joy’) flowering with Carex secta and artemisia in a summer-dry garden border. Photo: Saxon Holt

Our climate is changing. We may not like climate change but as gardeners, we are well suited to deal with it. By observing our gardens and noting how they respond to a changing environment, we’re gaining a better understanding of microclimates. And we’re always looking for new plants to grow. Collectively we have the knowledge that will help the larger community adapt and create livable landscapes for future generations.

Everything is in flux. Weather systems are complex and interconnected; no one can accurately predict how climate change will affect specific ecosystems. Will it rain more? Less? The Pacific Coast depends on winter rains and mountain snow to sustain our ecosystem and recharge our reservoirs. Reduced winter precipitation results in drought like what we’re presently facing. But our climate is typically dry in the summer; this is not drought, it’s normal.

I prefer describing our region as having a summer-dry climate, rather...


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