Out of the panoramic windows of my Catherine’s house, all I can see is an estuary full of cormorants and pelicans, the beach, a lighthouse and this big golden thing in the sky called the California sun. It is foggy in this shot. Santa Cruz gets a fog in the early morning and evening as the hot weather over the mountains pulls it in. You can see the fog rising in the estuary outside the house. It moves out over the sea very quickly and the sun comes out. I have sat drawing in the garden in late afternoon and experienced the fog turning and pulling back in over Live Oaks beach. The weather is very distinct here. Driving around you can hit a wall of fog and then leave it for the sunshine in the blink of an eye. The area contains several micro-climates. If you are interested, this is what the Santa Cruz Sentinel’s gardening page has to say:

Santa Cruz County’s zones

Zone 7

Thousands of acres fall into this zone, including middle elevation areas in the state. Here, it’s the Felton area and ridge tops along the Santa Cruz Mountains, where native gray pine (Pinus sabiniana) forests are found. Hot summers and mild, well-defined winters create recognisable seasons. In such a large area, lows vary, however typical winter lows range from 9 to 23 degrees (all temperatures in Fahrenheit).

Zone 15

This area winds it way throughout the area covering most of the Santa Cruz Mountains, where Zone 7 leaves off, and is marked by flourishing redwoods. It continues north of Santa Cruz east of Highway One past the county line. It is influenced by marine air approximately 85 percent of the time and the remaining 15 percent of the time by inland air. In general this zone has a moist atmosphere, cool summers and mild winters. Afternoon winds are common. Lows over a 20-year period ranged from 21 to 28 degrees.

Zone 16

This zone meanders east of Watsonville north along the foothills including the Corralitos area and inland to the Aptos area. This zone is known for its summer afternoon winds. It is dominated by marine air 85 percent of the time and by inland air the rest of the time. The area has a temperate feel from the combination of thermal belts and the coastal influence, with summers warmer than Zone 17 and winters warmer than Zone 15. Lows over a 20-year period ranged from 19 to 32 degrees.

Zone 17

This zone hugs the coastline on the west side of Highway One. Mild wet usually frostless winters are accompanied by almost daily blankets of fog. Average winter lows over a 20-year period ranged from 23 to 36 degrees.