Where is your fantasy place to move for gardening?

richsdJuly 19, 2013

I think about this from time to time because the growing conditions in the valley are far from ideal, IMO.

My fantasy relocation spots are: Sacramento valley/ foothills area (sunset zone 9- you can grow apples to oranges and everything in between!) Main headache is the pesky winter fog and higher real estate prices than Phoenix.

Next fantasy is the mid- south, like northwest Arkansas/Ozarks: Beautiful, rugged mountainous hardwood terrain, very affordable, and a great university town (fayetteville) nearby. Zone 6b. Other possible locations similar to NW Arkansas: Athens, Georgia (zone 8?) and Auburn, Alabama; both college towns as well.

What are your fantasy move spots? I want a spot with some winter chill, minimal snow, and ample rainfall.

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Laura81

San Francisco area, Monterey is nice or Hawaii. All good spots for growing things I like. Not cheap to live there.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 11:36AM
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Juttah

Great question! I was pondering this very thought the other day ... I realized I'm living here (and gardening, because gardening IS living) not because *I* chose to be here, but because of decisions made by those who came before me.

I'm not a cactus/succulent person, but I do like my creosote bushes, acacias, and yes, even mesquites as long as they're not on my property. So I would definitely miss those.

But I'm tired of suffering from monsoon envy -- the feeling that everybody but your neighborhood is getting rain. (Like today. And yesterday. And pretty much every day from the time the monsoon "started".)

So I yearn for a place where the rains occur more regularly and predictably, while still being able to grow the desert plants I like. I find myself drawn to the Texas gardening forum (lots of Hill Country regulars there) and with my husband's love of guns, that just might be where we'll end up someday!

One thing's for sure ... wherever it is, it must have a long growing season!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 5:20PM
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JaySone

How about somewhere on the peninsula of Alaska, the ground is glacial-fed and typically only the amount of sunshine limits the size to which stuff can grow. The long days and beautiful summers help too.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 12:58PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

I DO love gardening here, and have no real urge to leave, but just for fun fantasizing, I DO envy the San Jose, California climate: palms, cacti, succulents, apples, citrus, pears, tons of obscure Australian plants, peonies, fluffy annuals all year long, any coniferous evergreen you can imagine, plus all of the classic decidious shade trees too. Is there ANYTHING those people can't grow?? Plus they have warmer summers than San Francisco (I'm ALWAYS cold in S.F., same for San Diego too). I visit SJ several times a year and am always filled with climate envy. Of course, there's more to deal with than climate: heinous traffic, overflowing parking lots, crazy real estate prices etc., but in terms of just climate, yup, I'm envious!

Same for much of Los Angeles, and my recent trip to San Antonio, Texas (separate thread, lots of pics) gave me plenty to be envious about too. No place is perfect, but it's fun to think about. I visit Hawaii a couple of times a year and LOVE it (the people especially) but being in the true tropics, they really can't grow the same variety of plants as LA, SJ, etc., can. Plus it always feels, well, so LEAFY, lol!

As always, my goal in gardening is to NEVER live in a climate without palm trees, LOL.

Different strokes for different folks, and at different times of life too, but it's fun to talk about our Climate Fantasies!

Happy gardening all, wherever you are,
Grant

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 2:41PM
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jaspermplants

My fantasy gardening location is Sonoma County, California, about 60 miles north of San Francisco. Plenty of rain, never too hot or cold, and it's close to the ocean.

Of course, way too expensive, however.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 2:53PM
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swakyaby(9)

I live in Roseville, about 30 minutes from Sacramento, CA with the same climate. I've never thought of my location as a fantasy gardening climate, but the OP has given me renewed appreciation of our growing conditions. Although I feel bothered by having to throw frost blankets over our dwarf citrus trees when the temps drop below 35 degrees in the winter, I realize that the cold winter chill is what makes apples, Asian pears, cherries so easy to grow here. Growing heirloom tomatoes is very popular here. Wish my tiny backyard could accomodate more.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 3:50PM
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richsd

swakyaby, thanks so much for your post. It's so fun to get posts from people from outside our area.

I have lots of relatives in the Sac area (and lived there as a little boy), so I have some knowledge of your area.

Don't be discouraged gardening in Roseville. Just think how much worse it could be (like in Phoenix, haha)

Keep in touch, Rich

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 5:55PM
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GeeS 9b

Doesn't get much better than the VOTS, a little warmer might be nice. Like Grant, I have no desire to leave, but might choose Baja, CA as a backup. Seems to me that those folks feeling frustrated by their gardening efforts here aren't making good choices, and there is so much to choose from. No matter where you live, there will always be plants you can't grow.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 6:24PM
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richsd

GermanStar, are you serious? You want the Valley of the Sun a little warmer?? haha. Geez, do you run an air conditioning company or something? :) If I had my way, I'd raise the elevation of the valley by 3,000 ft.- slightly warmer than Albq.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 8:20PM
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GeeS 9b

We were down in the teens two of the last three winters. I collect Agaves, about 150 varieties at last count, most in the ground, and some do not appreciate that kind of chill. We've been lucky and though we did lose some cacti, haven't had any serious Agave losses yet, though we did have all kinds of tip burn and one plant pretty badly damaged. So yeah, definitely warmer. Plus, all the Zone 10 Euphorbias I could grow....

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 9:08PM
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richsd

GermanStar, I'd recommend southern California for you. Much milder in the winter (not to mention the summer.)

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 10:41PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Yeah, but you better watch those real estate prices. Arizona does me just fine. Southern California is completely outside of most folks financial ability.

I seriously agree with this statement from GermanStar:

Seems to me that those folks feeling frustrated by their gardening efforts here aren't making good choices

We are not in Kansas - nor Ohio. It is what it is. Plant accordingly.

Peace ~ m

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 11:38PM
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richsd

It's ironic that you cited the " it is what it is" phrase. Saying that to myself seems to keep me calm when I start feeling crazy about our lousy water, soil and heat.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 9:20PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

A better phrase to use to describe this place is: It's not what it was. The entire environment has been changed by population growth and development. It's hotter overall, especially the nighttime temps, and drier, too.

I think if I could pick a place and go, I'd choose somewhere in Arkansas or Hawaii. The former is quite affordable; the latter is not. :(

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 1:41AM
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jaspermplants

Absolutely, this place is much hotter and drier than it used to be, before the endless building and onslaught of people moved in here. Personally, I don't know why anyone would move here now...but that's my personal opinion, of course.

And, the endless, mindless building goes on...

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 11:26AM
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campv

Northern San Diego County Carlsbad/Vista area. That's were I was born and raised and lived up until 8 years ago.
I miss my Avocado trees and the good dirt. I don't mind the weather, but the soil here is something else.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 11:46AM
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GeeS 9b

Some of us are happy here. What's not to like? Of course, we're in FH, and not the Valley proper. ;-)

This post was edited by GermanStar on Thu, Jul 25, 13 at 12:50

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 12:24PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

If I were 'outta th' city' at a higher elevation, I might be happier, too. Everybody's different. Environment may not matter to some; to others, it does. The old saw, "Bloom where you are planted" is ridiculous. If you're an orchid, you're not gonna bloom outside a greenhouse here; if you're a saguaro, you're not gonna bloom in the tropics. When it comes to plants, of course we should try to grow what reasonably thrives in this climate. For those of us who'd like to have a garden like we had "back home", musing about where that might be is a harmless activity.

Personally, I bloom near water and hot arid scapes just don't do it for me. Your yard is beautiful and your plantings are spectacular. I admire it greatly; it's just not for me.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 7:34PM
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Laura81

I agree with tomatofreak, there is nothing wrong with a little fantasy gardening . When I first moved here I couldn't believe how awful the soil was. I was used to black, rich soil with worms. You could dig a hole within a few minutes not the whole afternoon it takes here. The things I love to grow just don't grow here without constant care or don't grow at all. It isn't an insult to the valley to say I wish.....

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 10:18AM
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GeeS 9b

Laura, we can dig holes here within a few minutes, as well. Just not with the same tools we might have used "back home". We need a pickax and a trenching shovel here, Ace has plenty of both. If you use a dirt shovel, it could take all afternoon. If the caliche isn't too thick, I can usually dig a 5-or 8-gal hole in about 5-10 minutes.

Hahaha, I just realized I hit my own nerve. Want to get me started about AZ gardening? Start a caliche thread. Grrrrrrrr! LOL

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 10:51AM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

Well, some of us (ahem, ahem) are past the point of pickax and trenching shovel. There's no caliche here in the middle of the city, but there is hard-packed clay-like soil that is a challenge to dig. Like Laura, I grew up in a place where a shovelful of soil was sure to contain a big bunch of worms. I am lucky to have worms in my yard here and I buy 'em for containers. And it's not just the certain plants I can't grow; it's that I can't have a *field* of peas and beans, giant red tomatoes, sweet corn, peanuts, potatoes, etc., etc.. Trust me, I know I can't go back home again, but I would like to have a garden in a more hospitable environment once again somewhere!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 11:21AM
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GeeS 9b

We have the same hard-packed clay, and I know I won't get far without my pickax and trenching shovel. Actually cracked a bone in my thumb one day when the pickax stuck an inordinately hard caliche layer I wasn't aware of. I've tried to maintain a looser grip ever since.

Sounds like my grandfather's garden in Arkansas. Nearly an acre, full of all manner of vegetables, okra (yuk!), corn, pumpkins, potatoes, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, black-eyed peas, on and on. Guy was healthy as a horse until cancer got him at 81. Hard work and a healthy diet. My grandmother used to can, and the crop would easily hold 'em through winter. I loved that garden when I was a kid, I'd still like to play in it!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 11:42AM
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Laura81

Back in the Midwest we had a neighbor who had moved from AZ to there and he was digging a hole with a pickax and we asked him what in the world he was doing. Now I understand the usefulness of the pickax! Is caliche that white hard layer?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 11:55AM
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GeeS 9b

Hahaha, that's funny! Caliche is usually white, but it can also be dark, and often has a bluish cast. It can be hard as rock, soft as heavy clay, usually somewhere in between. More times than not it's just a few inches thick and we can punch through it, which is important, because if we don't it can serve as a basin for standing water, killing our water-wise plants by interfering with normal drainage. I have quite a bit of caliche in my front yard, but thankfully, almost none in back.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 12:20PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

"....full of all manner of vegetables, okra (yuk!)..."

OK, now you're maligning okra! Surely, you're not like my late father who rejected it because it's "slimey"?! My mom fooled him one day; she parboiled small pods, dredged them in egg and cornmeal and fried them up crispy. She put them on the table without a word. Daddy ate several and after dinner, she asked if he enjoyed his meal. He did, he said, but wondered where she got "the little fish"! Have you tried pickled okra? Yummmmm....

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 1:01PM
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Laura81

Germanstar, thanks for the information. Maybe I will just let my yard go native. Whatever happens to sprout up naturally I'll keep.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 1:02PM
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GeeS 9b

That's what I did. :-)

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 1:22PM
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Laura81

Loving the agave plants. Okra is an acquired taste and it is one I never acquired that and eggplant.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 5:01PM
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GeeS 9b

Thanks, that is our obsession. We have pups coming out the yin yang, if you ever want to try your hand at a few, just let me know, and we'll hook you up.

I was introduced to okra as a child, and haven't gotten over it yet -- LOL!

This post was edited by GermanStar on Fri, Jul 26, 13 at 17:15

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 5:13PM
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Laura81

Thanks for the offer of pups. I will definitely take you up on that offer as I adjust my going native thinking.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 7:02PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

So nice, Germanstar, so nice! I do agree with you and Mary that gardeners who are happy here select and grow plants that thrive here. 90% of my garden is that, with 10% experimentation. Happy gardening all!

Here is a link that might be useful: Pics from my garden July 2013 one of the slowest months of the year out there but plenty to enjoy

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 1:59PM
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Laura81

Grant,
Wow just wow! I want to live in your garden! Or at least have tea and read a book there. Fab!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 2:17PM
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GeeS 9b

Grant, I'll just say that when my garden grows up, it would like to be just like yours. I decided long ago that I greatly prefer healthy thriving examples of nearly any plant over stressed hangers-on. I enjoy the effort to no end, even in this heat, but only if produces the desired result.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 3:41PM
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ernie85017, zn 9, phx

Monsoon envy! Great term! I feel the same way. The East side will have torrential rains and we get nothing where I am. The Dome Effect.

When I was a kid (a few years ago), living in the same area, we had grand thunderstorms every week with big rains. Yards were green, no one watered. I miss that. But then, I miss a lot of the world the way it was then.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 5:31PM
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greyghost61(8b SoWeGa)

This is an interesting thread. I live in the deep south and I try to grow (to a large extent sucsessfully) desert plants...cacti, yuca, agave and occotillo along with tropicals in the wetter parts of my yard. I would love to garden in So. Arizona or, and I did not see anyone else list this, the Florida Keys. I love the tropicals that grow there, plumeria grow like weeds there along with mangos, bananas and tons of other tropical fruits. Also I think any kind of palm will grow there and coconut palms are everywhere. I also see tons of interesting cacti and agave growing there.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 8:18PM
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Laura81

the Keys sounds like it would be a great place to garden but the humidity would slay me. It is interesting that you grow desert plants. I tried to grow a magnolia tree in AZ and it met a terrible burning death.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 11:33AM
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richsd

Laura, I appreciate your comments re: Southern Magnolia. I planted a beautiful 7 ft. tree in my Phoenix backyard that I grew from a Monrovia sapling I bought on-sale.. Slowly but surely, it lost leaves in a slow suffer. Very bad memories. It was a gorgeous tree once. RIP, my tree.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 12:46PM
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jovanc

I have to admit I love AZ, but sometimes I fantasize about moving to Savannah, Ga-especially when I get to missing the rain. If you get past the humidity, it really is perfect. You can grow citrus, tropical things, and tons of wildflowers. Plus, with avg of 50 inches of rain, if you plant native and adaptive things,you really don't have to water. Also, oak trees and spanish moss are my favorite things.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 1:44PM
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1212dusti(9)

Although CA was mentioned several times, I like greyghost's idea of the Keys. Love it there. Oregon is beautiful, would totally love the change of seasons. Really miss plants I grew up with back east, although Oregon is awesome, real estate prices aren't bad. If I didn't have to work, would choose the UK, or West Indies.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 6:02PM
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deb_in_az52

well, my place of choice is northeast Alabama, in the foothills of the Smoky Mtns, and when my husband retires in a few years, that's where we are headed. would like to live on Lake Guntersville or Lake Weiss, around the Ft. Payne area. real estate is cheaper there, as are real estate taxes. great farmers markets with fresh peas, corn, butterbeans. 4 seasons there, plenty of rain, a little snow in the winter. will have a HUGE greenhouse and a green lawn. I have some lawn space at my house in surprise now, but I'm constantly having to spray weeds in the rocks and quarter minus. In Bama, you just mow it all down.. I'm originally from Alabama, and I miss the plants and trees there. I am growing mimosa trees and crape myrtles here. I have to say there's nothing that can beat a wet spring with all the wildflowers here. a whole mountainside covered in poppies is an awesome sight.
Debbie

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 10:41PM
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1212dusti(9)

Deb, I totally get what you are saying. Phoenix is different from most parts of the US. I was reading this article about these incredibly talented guys who made their yard into an amazing paradise. I was so taken with their yard, and one of the pictures shows a large viburnum. I wanted one, and used to see them all the time back east. It's been a constant struggle to keep it alive. It turned completely brown, now it's coming out green since I replanted it in the deepest shade in the yard, and water twice a day. Plants like that will never be happy here though. Like you, I miss all that lush, green growth. Anyway, here is the link of that beautiful garden, enjoy. http://www.bhg.com/gardening/design/styles/create-privacy-in-your-yard/

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 12:38AM
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waterbug_guy(Phoenix AZ (Melrose))

One of the reasons I moved from San Jose CA to Phoenix was to reduce my gardening addiction. It was out of control. I've lived in Upstate NY, Germany, Pensacola FL, Denton (Dallas) TX, Mt Shasta CA, San Jose CA, Shemya AK and Phoenix. So far San Jose has been my fav gardening spot. Week or so of frost danger each year and lots of sun, similar to Phoenix. I can't think of anything I planted that didn't do well and I tried pretty much everything I could get my hands on. Vegetables were great.

Soil was clay, but I've never lived anywhere where people didn't complain about the soil. Soil can be fixed pretty easy imo.

I've been in the Phoenix area for 10 years this month. Just now starting to get serious about gardening again. Threw out my Sunset Western Gardening book long ago and stopped watching gardening show because they just don't apply. I've spent the last 10 years looking at other people's gardens and trying different plants in different areas to learn how they react. It's like being on a different planet.

Picking a fantasy place to garden is tricky. Isn't it partly the challenge that makes this fun? Phoenix has the appeal that growing many plants requires more skill than San Jose. But San Jose remains my fav gardening location.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 4:12PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Hah! Los Gatos! In the Santa Cruz mountains. Throw down a few seeds, voila, veggies sprout and grow.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 4:29PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

If I could live in the Keys I know I would have a breeze all of the time. It is so stiff here now. Not even a1mph breeze. Hot and very humid. Vero Beach, Florida would be my dream place to live. Kinda tropical, a sea breeze, close to the ocean and surf fishing.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 4:44PM
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