One prime example is something called the citrus leaf miner. For the past couple of years, this tiny insect has been a real pest on my citrus trees. They cause the new leaves to twist and curl and look extremely deformed and ugly. During this past winter, all of my citrus trees suffered severe die-back from the cold. Some of them died all the way back to the ground. With spring, they all came back - but the leaf miner didn't. This summer the new citrus leaves are smooth and green and beautiful.
Likewise, in the vegetable garden, during the past few years, we have had a plague of leaf-footed bugs. They have been a serious pest on ripening fruit, especially tomatoes, sometimes rendering them unusable. This year, right up until the middle of June, I had not seen a leaf-footed bug in the garden. Unfortunately, recently, they have begun to show up, but at least we had a wide window of opportunity during which we were able to harvest perfect vegetables with none of that telltale damage.
Some of the other effects of the winter cold have been less welcome.
During most summers and autumns, we are host to large numbers of Mediterranean geckos which scurry around on the ceilings of our porches at night chasing insects. They are charming little critters and we enjoy watching them.
The same thing seems to have happened to one of my favorite gardening buddies, the green anole.
|Green anole displaying his throat pouch.|
I'm also concerned about another of my backyard favorites, the box turtle that we named Sammy.
|Sammy the box turtle in summer, 2013.|
Global climate change is a strange phenomenon. While the planet as a whole is getting hotter, the physics of climate change can cause extreme weather in many places, and that includes extreme winters in areas that are not used to them. Last winter qualified as an extremely cold winter for us, even while the southern hemisphere was suffering through a record hot summer.
The lesson of such weather seems to be that there will be winners and losers. My citrus trees are definite winners, although they suffered short-term damage. I can only hope that the little critters that I love which apparently suffered setbacks in their populations will be able to make a comeback. In fact, I have every confidence that they will.