Saturday, January 18, 2014

Wisdom of Flowers

It's Bougainvillea Heaven in Calabria

Sometimes folks are confused about the climate here.  We hope to explain by means of comparison and by photos of the plants and flowers that survive well in southern Italy and even bloom in the winter! All places in the world are unique, but comparisons can be made—along with mistakes. We have a Mediterranean climate which is often mistaken for tropical by would-be tourists and retirees. The European side of the Med is cool and gets blended with the hot African side to create a special place. In fact last night we had a "scirrocco" (desert wind) which made it 17C this morning instead of the normal 8C. It also brought "dirty rain" from the African deserts. Enjoy the flowers of winter in Calabria and think about other places in the world you may have seen them growing.

"CALABRIA IS THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA OF ITALY". Italians often compare Calabria to Southern California, but in the winter it’s colder here and it’s possible to get a light snow. Italy also has more rainfall than San Diego or Los Angeles. (about 40 in/1016mm) You might have heard about the wildfires near Los Angeles this week – very dry.

Azaleas are at home on our Front Steps--Clay Pots won't freeze

Western Oregon is a little colder in winter and can receive a little more snow in the valleys. Rainfall is about the same there as here, but we have much more sunshine in Calabria. The rain doesn't drizzle, it comes down in great buckets during breath-takingly violent storms or steady quiet rain that all eventually gives way to the sun--and no endless days of fog either.

We lived east of the Oregon mountains for most of our working lives. There winter is very cold and we had snow for long periods. Summer was hot, but the nights were cool—great for sleeping!

Both locations receive most of the precipitation in the winter months. 

Looks like Red Hot Poker, but maybe not

FLORIDA? Sometimes we are similar to Florida, but Florida has a summer-from-hell with its humidity, and can be very cold in the winter occasionally. While visiting northern Florida in January, we encountered temperatures of 21F/-6C. Those are crop-freezing temperatures that coastal Italy will likely never see.
Citrus love it here

Although all of these nice flowering plants survive here, it does not mean that Italy is cozy and warm in the winter. We have found that Italy, Greece and even the Canary Islands are not tropical and not warm enough in the winter for a reliable beachy holiday, so we must get closer to the equator. 

A Jade Plant in Bloom
Begonias hate the cold--but survive here

We have researched Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand. Hawaii and the Caribbean are too far away for us to use for every-year winter visits--as are the South Pacific, South Africa and Australia. Morocco may work, but we need more research on that since it isn't tropical either. Anyone have  an opinion out there on that?


  1. Thank you for this post.. I just found your blog- great reading and information! I am just starting to work with Tony- coming to Calabria (from just northwest of Vancouver) for the month of July, very excited and look forward to reading your blog/updates as I proceed forward in this journey!

  2. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Tammy, and good luck on your journey!



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