Winter Is the New Summer

Over a dozen years ago, I was at an orchid show here in California, talking with a Hawaiian grower. I remember him saying that his orchids hadn’t gone dormant properly that year because they had a “hot winter.” That paradoxical phrase stuck with me. It seemed like an omen of climate change.

Now it’s 2022, and the SF Bay Area is having a hot winter. We live near San Francisco in Pacifica, a town known for cool, foggy weather. But early February has shown us repeated days that are just shy of 80°F (27°C.) While we’ve always had a mild climate, that’s much warmer than our winter norms. Historically, February is one of our rainiest months, but this year, there hasn’t been a drop for a month. We started our autumn rainy season with some heavy storms, but the weather returned to dry, warm drought conditions afterwards.

I’m certainly not one to complain about warm and sunny days, but it’s strange when winter seems like summer. It’s great that our furnace isn’t running, and that we’re wearing shorts instead of heavy coats and waterproof boots. But it’s yet another sign, along with a fire season which now spans the entire year, and other extreme weather events, that climate change is here. It’s already directly affecting our lives, and the lives of all the flora and fauna around us.

For my orchids, the warm temps and dry air means lots of watering. It’s a struggle to balance the dormant varieties’ need for a dry season with their need not to bake to a crisp. I don’t have any automated systems, but hand-water everything instead. That means that I have to water my plants daily, and spray down their leaves repeatedly to improve humidity. It’s much more watering than I usually do during summer. This weather also forces me to postpone any orchid repotting, since the warm, dry air is already stressing the plants. Now that winter is our new summer, what will our summer look like?

This growing catastrophe is especially infuriating because we have long known what the problem is, and how to fix it. The greed of powerful coal, oil, and gas companies prevents any effective actions. The longer we wait to tackle it, the worse it will be. We will require more extreme actions to change course. As we head off the climate change cliff, I’m afraid a very deep abyss awaits.

Explore posts in the same categories: Conservation, General Gardening, Problems

Subscribe to the About Orchids Blog:
AddThis Feed Button

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.