Both sides, now!

We’ve been having a nice stretch of weather, so today I got outside to take some pictures and do a bit of digging and repotting. Because winter’s been quite warm, growth in the Ranchero is a good month ahead of what I’ve seen during my previous two winters here…..take a look:

Ranchero, Feb 2, 2012

This is a side of the garden from which I rarely take photos, and I’m surprised by how full it looks!  In years past, the curly croton (foreground) and dracena marginata (left-rear) have died back to ground level; the amaryllis had 2 leaves at most, and the cosmos were nowhere near blooming.  Ditto for a sunflower located on the other side of the purple oyster plants….see?

Cinnamon Sunflower

An open sunflower on the second day in February?  Surely this is a sign the ground is ALOT warmer this year…. and here’s another one, from a part of the vegetable garden you haven’t seen before:

Thai Peppers

Pick me!! Pick me!!

Thai Peppers! Red, HOT and definitely ahead of schedule….we’ve been pulling these off (and eating them) for the past two weeks!

Maybe the planting “zone creep” announced last week is real, or perhaps recent events in my garden are randomly anectdotal. Only time and scientific data will tell, but I guarantee this last example will have you thinking about both sides, now!

Just before Christmas, I took a cutting from my very well established almond bush, dipped it in root hormone and placed it directly in my rear cutting garden instead of a pot.  I’ve noticed this past month how big it’s grown;  in the past week it even set some small buds!.  Today I dug it up to have a look:

Almond Bush Cutting

Holy Canoli, Batman!!!!!  You are looking at the cutting (with extensive roots!!) being held above the spot on the branch from which it was snipped.  I was so completely astounded I decided to pot it up for a friend:

New almond bush

Tomorrow I go to Ivana's house!

I hope she likes it!

Until next time!

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::

alamanda

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……