Zoned out? Turning over a new leaf?

Are you zoned out, or turning over a new leaf?  Time was, these were mutually exclusive propositions, but not anymore!

Yesterday, the USDA in conjunction with Oregon State University’s Prism Research Group, released a new Plant Zone Hardiness Map that divides the U.S. into 26 zones of average, annual, extreme, minimum temperatures, each zone varying five degrees from the next.  In addition to being 100% web interactive and searchable via zipcode, many things have changed since the last map was configured in 1990. New data used to compile the 2012 map includes the prevailing winds, bodies of water and slope of land in each of the 26 regions. The urban heat island effect was also taken into consideration, which may explain why 18 of 34 cities mentioned in the 1990 mapkey have higher designations.

So with most areas measuring 5° F warmer than before, yours may have zoned out, like mine did.  Yesterday, Vero Beach was located in 9b…today the USDA is calling it 10, which raises some all important questions:

Can you risk a zone 7-11 Agapanthus  if you live in 5b Binghamton, NY,?  Will that zone 10-11 Duranta Erecta Cuban Gold really grow in the formerly 9b Ranchero?

Who among us has the courage to turn over a new leaf?  😉

For the time being, I think I’ll stick to what I know works best, which are plants like these::


and this:

Mirabiliand especially this:

Siam Tulip

Alamandas, Mirabilis, and Siam Tulips are three of my favorite choices, but NOT because I lack courage or a spirit of adventure!   They’re sure bets in my garden; they come back every year; they make gardening fun and relaxing, and that’s what this hobby is most about for me.

The USDA can call the Ranchero any zone it likes, but for me?  I’m sticking with Comfort Zone.  🙂  🙂

Until next time……

17 thoughts on “Zoned out? Turning over a new leaf?

  1. The plants may be different in Florida than what we have in the Colorado Rockies, but I have the same concerns as you. I feel better treating my Zone 5b as 4b just to be safe. I’m keeping the same leaf for now.

    • Thanks for stopping by! I’ll try some serious island tropical at some point, most likely, just to push the boundaries a bit, but the thought of losing things over the winter if we get a tough season isn’t appealing to me!

    • seems we do in this part of the USA. when I lived in New England though, there were a few years when the nurseries were hardcore marketting “English Country Garden” perennials, and people bought lots of lilacs, peonies, tulips etc. Of those three, i sure do miss the lilacs! such a wonderful scent!

  2. Thanks for posting this info and links. I’ve been wanting to check out the zone thing further after I heard about it the other day.
    Pretty much we remained the same in our zone. With our goofy winters and summer droughts we’re lucky to even make it through a gardening season. 😉
    Your plants and flowers are beautiful.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. *What?* Gardening for fun and relaxation? Perish the thought! 😉

    Clearly it’s a philosophy that’s working wonders for your garden, and since you seem to blog so happily about it, I’m guessing for you, too. I’m all for this approach. Being new to Texas gardening (from the incredibly forgiving and temperate PNW), I’ll have to learn all new tricks for what makes my life easy while still looking good and keeping my visiting birds, beasts and bees happy, but I think it should be a fun challenge all the same. I’ll be looking to you *and* to the USDA zone map for input!


    • From what I’ve read, gardening is texas is all about native growers..I think the people who have trouble are the ones pushing the limits too far, especially when it comes to their plants’ water requirements. sticking with species that are drought tolerant and deer resistant and you should be fine!

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  5. I’m glad to find your blog, thanks for visiting mine. I call Siam Tulip ‘Curcuma’ and it comes back here, although it takes a while in spring. It blooms in August.

    For the Texas visitor above, TAMU has some websites that give some excellent tips on what grows all over Texas. If it grows in Texas, it generally grows in my garden except for bluebonnets which want an alkaline soil. Tecoma stans, Pride of Barbados, Vitex, Grandma’s Yellow rose — all Texas Superstars, all growing in Georgia.

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