Do you ever wonder about gardening in a different zone?

lavender_lass(4b)July 10, 2011

I love where we live and don't think we'll ever move, but I do fantasize about other garden zones. What would it be like, to plant in April and have the first frost in October? To have a winter that lasts three months, not five. Spring in March and not May.

So, that being said, I see all the problems many are having, with heat, drought, bugs, etc. and I think maybe there's an upside to my short growing season....but I still daydream about warmer zones. I'm hoping that eventually, I'll be able to get a greenhouse addition to our farmhouse...and maybe that will make a big difference!

Does anyone else ever think about gardening in other zones? Do you wonder about growing plants you only dream about, now? Is your area too warm or cold, for growing plants that you'd love to try?

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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

I lived in St. Louis MO for eight years but did very little gardening. It was a time of raising my son and the neighborhood kids visiting our large corner lot. And in the summer it was sooo hot and humid. Now I wish I had done some gardening and used the longer spring/fall seasons.

Even here in MN I didn't garden seriously until my son was in college and I was "retired" and had found wintersowing. And now that my husband has retired I think of moving to AZ or TX and gardening in another extreme zone.

No matter where I live there will be plants that I can not grow without special attention but I try them anyway because it's fun to experiment. My back gardens are my "farm/lab" where I experiment.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 1:53PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

'Does anyone else ever think about gardening in other zones?'

Not anymore, I used to dream about warmer climes but I've come to realize I love, love, love it right where I'm at.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 2:23PM
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silverkelt(Z5b/Southern Maine)

Only Two Reasons

1. After what seemed to be a warmer strech last decade and a half.. things of gotten cold here.. the last 5 has been brutal, where did this global warming thing go? Massive amounts of snow and cold, not seen for 30-40 years ago. Every year the last three we have seen between 100-150 inches of snow. Frankly dealing with that much snow is insanity. A couple years ago we had a inch or more every day for 14 days straight.. Trust me, one inch is enough to throw traveling in it to mass choas..

2. To grow teas and noisettes is something I have always dreamed of.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 4:19PM
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I'm in 7b in North Carolina and I started gardening in February this year -- clean up, seed-sowing, etc. Sometimes, my plants, like KO roses will bloom up until Thanksgiving. the last few years, we've had extremely hot summers and drought. I've been gardening since 1974 and I can't remember ever having to own garden hoses until the last five years. We used to get regular rainfall that broke up the heat waves and made gardening much more rewarding and a lot less work.

Just today, my husband and I went to Plant Delights and talked to Tony Avent about how to grow AGAVE in the garden!

A few weeks ago, I saw the gorgeous Battery Gardens (designed by Piet Oudolf) and was amazed that everything blooming at the same time, instead of in stages, among the same plants that I grow. I was envious (I'm linking to one of my blog stories with photos of the proof!

I do dream of living and gardening in France! My problem is that there are so many beautiful areas, I can't decide which I like best! LOL


Here is a link that might be useful: Battery Gardens

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 4:37PM
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plantmaven(8b/9a TX)

Every summer!

If I could pick a spot it would probably be Napa Valley.
A family friend had a beautiful garden in Redlands, CA.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 5:03PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

I could give up year round gardening if it meant a more temperate climate, but like Cameron said ... she's in zone 7b and it sounds as miserable as down here in 8b. We too used to have almost daily summer showers. Now they're rare.

LL, did you finish your potager? Any new pics?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 5:18PM
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dawiff(z7 WA)

Yes, and three years ago I actually did something about it! We moved from Zone 6 Massachusetts to Zone 7b/8a Washington. And I love it! Yes, it's wetter, but both summers and winters are so much milder than New England. I do not miss the snow, and I will take the cold, wet winter over it any day, even when it lingers like it has this year.

I can garden in February here, if I'm willing to go out in the cold mist. This year I actually weeded and cut back perennials in February.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 6:10PM
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I'm in zone 3b now altho have gardened in zone 8b as well as 5a and 6a. There are advantages and disadvantages to every climate. One advantage of colder climates is we have fewer insect pests. When I first started reading garden forums I was amazed to find that delphiniums do not like extreme heat so don't grow well in hot climates. Delphs are one of my fav plants so I'm glad they do well here.

I'm sure there are lots of plants that I would enjoy growing altho there are enough hardy plants that will grow well here so I don't think about it much.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 8:29PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

I love where I garden but I do wish spring would show up a bit earlier. I have planted the gardens heavily for fall interest so we have something going on almost until the snow flies which helps.

There are times I wish I was gardening on Long Island where I grew up, just to have a little longer growing season and the chance to have some plants I really adore. But there have been a few winters where my in-laws get more snow than us up here! I'll stick with NH. Besides, I could never give up fall in New England.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 8:57PM
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Natal- I'm still working on it, but it's looking very nice. I have one bed that's a bit weedy, but the rest are doing much better. When I finish weeding, I'll try to take some pictures...and some pictures of my roses. The Celsiana is just starting to open and it's beautiful...and what a wonderful fragrance!

Everything is really late this year, in fact, the red peonies just bloomed, but the white ones are still budding out. Many of the roses are just starting to open, but they're really lush this year :)

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 10:03PM
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"For everything you gain, you lose something else." I have lived in the Dallas/Ft Worth area for the last 40 years - it's about 9:30pm, in the high 90's, and am pouring on the water just to keep everything alive!

When I lived in the Pacific Northwest, which is naturally beautiful, the weather was great, but in the winter it just rained and rained all winter, guess that's why it's so pretty and green during most of the summer. During the winter here, especially in January and February, we get many days of 70 Degrees plus a lot of sunshine, followed by ice storms and short freezes!

Living in Montana meant LONG freezing winters like Lavender experiences, seemed like spring would NEVER come. Here in Texas March heralds spring with the daffodils, etc!

We certainly don't have the natural beauty y'all have in the north, that's for sure, so I guess it offsets each other!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 10:43PM
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bev2009(6 IN)

I can't take the heat and humidity, so I haven't really had zone envy. But six years ago we moved 40 miles and due to the lake effect, it changed my zone from a 5 to a 6. I have been working on finding plants that I can grow now that wouldn't have worked in the zone 5, just to give my old gardening friends some zone envy. Hee, hee!

I brought 80 plants from my old house with me when we moved and I couldn't believe how much bigger they grew in their new location. Could be partly soil and partly zone. The hosta had been growing for 30 years and were still only a foot wide and 8" tall. Now they look like shrubs!

I was pleasantly surprised to find my pineapple sage had over-wintered. I overwintered black and blue salvia in the garage, but am tempted to try it in the ground this year.

I do love to travel and visit gardens in all zones to enjoy the variety. I'm heading to Nashville in a couple of weeks and can you believe, I have never been south. Nipped into the very north of Kentucky once for a weekend, and Atlanta for a convention, but no visiting time. I'm really looking forward to it.

I love all the pictures everyone posts from all the different zones. Thanks for everyone's efforts!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 8:19AM
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That's part of the reason why we moved. We were in zone 3 with a short growing season and long depressing winters. We are now in zone 5 or 6, depending on who you ask. Last year are first major frost wasn't until November!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 9:38AM
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valree3(Nv zone 4)

I lived in zone 5b for years and always told my DH if we moved I would love to live in a warmer zone. We moved to a zone 3/4 with 90 day growing period (zone 4 & 90 days being optimistic). I have been surprised how many plants that I love can grow in my area. The clay soil has been a bigger challenge than the cold. I havent been lucky with roses or lavendar but my peonies bloomed beautifully for me this year. The thing that drives me crazy is that I plant my veggie garden in late May, early June then we have been getting a freeze in mid June that has really done some damage to it. I'm learning to grow very short seasoned veggies and that leaves out a whole bunch of great veggies. I havent been able to grow a red tomato since I've lived here and now zone 5b looks good. I love where I live and I'm learning more about gardening because of my growing conditions.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 9:52AM
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silverkelt(Z5b/Southern Maine)

I agree about fall in New england, for 2-3 weeks, the weather is usually glorious, the cooler days, the pumpkins, the apples, the long leisurly walks, the climbs and drives to see the sun glinting off the yellows, oranges and reds.. is spectacular.

There is nothing in the world like these short few weeks. Its also the last glint of the fleeting growing time, with covering you hope the most devestating frosts stay away so you can finish up the last few tomatoes ect ect.

Valree.. FAST cool weather crops are great. Peas, Lettuce, Spinich. Fast growing summer crops such as Zucchina and Green Beans.

I dont even try to grow corn or melons.. Melons in particular.. by the time it warms up enough to grow them.. I almost never get fruit. I just buy them now =(.. Sadly as I know my fresh produce will blow away anything I can buy for the most part.. Sometimes I can find them at a garden stand locally.. There are some people who start them under thier hoop houses early enough and get them to grow fast enough to do it.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 10:22AM
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sure! That's why I transferred from a tropical country to a cold wintery country. LOL.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 12:39PM
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oklahomarose(USDA 6b)

Lavender lass:

This thread of yours is UNCANNY. This very issue is on my mind and bless you for asking this question!!!

First, where in WA do you live? I grew up in Gig Harbor, WA (Puget Sound). I came to Oklahoma 12 years ago (via central New York) to accept a good job here. I've since moved on from the job, and this is the Tulsa summer that is finally breaking me. The high yesterday was 108.

I am starting to develop a five-year plan to return to one of the coasts.......Oregon or central New York (went to grad school there), precisely because 1) I want to grow things and be outside all summer, and 2) I miss the outdoors.

Syracuse has its flaws, though. I had no garage and no heat in my VW, but the rolling green hills are stunning. I once sat by my window for a whole day and watched bare pavement layer with snow past the parking meters. If I had a greenhouse and a garage, I think I could do it. Oregon is...perfection, well...a lot of drizzle and overcast.

The nice thing about Oklahoma (other folks, please weigh in) is that I've got my hands in the earth on March 1 and winter doesn't hit until the day after Thanksgiving. You trade that for sheer misery during July and August and some years, throw in June. It's not just bathing in one's own sweat for hours on end it's the sad toll on plants, no matter how much you water. Lushness is hard to come by around here during the summer months.

Oklahoma is tough as hell on a gardener.

(Virtues: laid back, salt of the earth people, awesomely priced real estate.)

I would love to hear more thoughts from everyone on this!


    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 9:48PM
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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

Sometimes I think about what it would be like to garden in a warmer climate and then I think of the bugs and the rain and the heat and I realize that I am quite happy here in zone 3ish. I really enjoy the seasons with all the distinct changes. Spring is new and exciting to see what is going to pop up after a long winters nap. Planting out your new babies that you started under lights, greenhouse shopping and getting outside , talking to the neighbours, playing in the greenhouse listening to the rain. It smells so fresh and alive! Summer is lazy and green with thunder storms at night after a hot day out in the garden or mowing the lawn or just being lazy in the sun. Fresh garden peas, crab apples, Nankin cherries and the first real garden meal with baby carrots, baby potatoes, corn on the cob, fresh garden salad and of course home grown tomatoes. The fragrance and the friends continue into the fall when everyone is out raking leaves and cleaning up the yard after summers burst of bloom. The fall days are so crisp and colorful and smell like apples. The kids crunch their way to school and everybody starts new lessons in life. Then comes the fluffy white snow that makes everything so pristine and silient. Only to go out and get really cold shoveling snow and feeding the birds and come in to hot vegie soup and flannel quilts to dream of the surprises sleeping under the snow. I love the natural seasonal changes. So grateful to experience them year after year....each one anew. :) And I wonder what it is like to experience a year in a zone 9....but only for a moment.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 1:32AM
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Andrea- I live in eastern Washington, about five miles from Idaho. It's very different from Seattle and Gig Harbor...more like Honalee's description (which is beautiful, by the way).

Summer here is warm (sometimes hot) but it cools off at night. Spring starts late, but once it warms up, we have a constant wave of flowers blooming...bulbs to lilacs, moving into peonies and roses. These usually bloom end of May/early June, but this year, they're just now blooming, with our very late and cool spring.

Fall and winter tend to overlap too soon. We have beautiful, late summer/early fall, but it gets cold and we usually have snow by late October/early November...and then it's winter until mid March. Most of the area gets their first frost in mid-late September, but ours is usually the end of August....and our last frost is early June, not mid May, like in town.

Of course, out on the farm and in the small towns, we do have friendly people, very low housing prices (especially outside of town) and lots of land. We also have several major lakes nearby, lots of pine trees and mountains...and very low humidity.

Oh, and Andrea, if you like snow, you should think about eastern Washington/Oregon...because we've been getting 100+ inches lately. A few years ago we had the 1st and 3rd most snow ever...breaking a record set in the 1950s. Hope things cool down for you, soon and you get some well-needed rain! :)

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 12:26PM
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oklahomarose(USDA 6b)

Hey, lavender lass! Thanks for your note! I went to school a few years at WSU in Pullman. I love your area of the country. Will send more thoughts soon.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 3:26PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

I do! If I moved 30 miles into the town and out of the mountains I would gain another zone and 2 more months of gardening. To do that, I would have to trade my 5 acres for 1/8 of an acre though. Even though we are a zone 6, our last frost is not until May 15th and the first is October 15th. If I could move anywhere for gardening, it would probably be southern Oregon where I was born, less rain than other parts of Oregon and better growing conditions than what I have now.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 12:05AM
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We moved from Southern California zone 9/10 to Midwest zone 5 less than 2 years ago. So now all my wondering about gardening in a different zone has been answered! :D I do love the burst of spring growth and was surprised to find how many plants can grow in full sun here. I also find the rain quite impressive! We'd go so long without rain in California it was eerie. I have gone peony and perennial crazy, but do miss big roses and the tropical vines and exuberant growth from our old home. Mostly I do find the long cold winters hard to endure. On the plus side, no wild fires, mud slides, earth quakes and NO irrigation pipes! Only blizzards and tornadoes. Here I am much less likely to procrastinate with plantings though because there is a more narrow time frame for getting certain things done. In CA I kind of got lazy and felt as though I was in a perpetual growing zone...oh hey, yea I kind of was in a perpetual growing zone! The first winter here I'd look over old photos about once a month and imagine what was growing "back home" while it was all white outside here. Now, however, I tend to focus on scheming and planning out the new gardens here.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 12:05AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I do wonder, but then I decide I like it where I am. It is so different from some of the extremes many of you battle with. When I read about your conditions I am filled with admiration that you garden at all. We have a truly temperate maritime climate - no excesses of anything. Spring comes to my garden with the first snowdrops in January and then goes on until May gradually building up to Summer but never getting really hot or really dry. So at the moment I am picking peas and favas and lettuce which are quite happy out there in the rain and 60 something temps. At the other end of the season it all winds down with cooling temps, rain and sunny patches. The first frost might come in October or it might come in December. There's no way of telling. A bit of snow most years which might lie for a few days. But rarely long intense cold periods. Also very few insects like mosquitoes so when it is warm enough to sit out we don't get bitten. But the downside is that there is a lack of warmth and sunshine which can go on for days on end even in summer. No chance of growing a melon and not a lot of tomatoes either. But then again - I don't need to water more than a few times a year and only the vegetables and pots. I think living in a climate like mine you really appreciate dry sunny days because they are unpredictable. Heat never becomes an enemy.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 9:28AM
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I'm actually wondering more about what it is to garden in my SAME ZONE in a different part of the country! Zones are only dependent on lowest winter temp. Just finished visiting Bar Harbor, which is warm zone 5b. We are 5a/4 border, so what does that mean? Even though we are a colder zone, I think Bar Harbor may have a shorter growing season than us. It is farther north and the ocean keeps the true winter cold away. Do they have a shorter growing season? I don't know, but I do know that I have read that a zone 5 on the eastern coast is a very different gardening experience than a zone 5 in the dry and arid midwest. That is what I wonder about now! Maybe we have the same cold winter temps, but what about all the other factors of gardening among these different zone 5 areas?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 1:24PM
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I've gardened in semi-tropical, but arid Southern California;
I've gardened in the Mojave Desert;
I've gardened in northern Louisiana;
Now I am gardening in Central Oklahoma.
I dream about gardening in Vancouver, BC.
I think about moving up to Vancouver, too. :)
That would be a new experience.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 4:54PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

I think our climate is much like Flora's with a couple of exceptions, sometimes, not often we get a really hot spell in the summer and some winters, we actually get one, long and Brrrrrrr.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 5:21PM
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I garden in central Alabama. Spring started very early February this year. I am likely to have roses blooming in December. Looking at Renee's garden,California would seem to be a wonderful place to garden.

But in truth, I suspect being gardeners we make the most of what our climate offers, and just occasionally have __________(you fill in the blank) envy. For me it is lupines and delphiniums that I would love to grow.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 6:36AM
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With the last week of temps in the 100s, heat index up to 115, and another week heading back to 100 -- I wonder about Hawaii! Wish someone from Hawaii would jump on here. I know there's a forum, but to tell us the differences. Of course, we could never move there.

That said, what's really getting to me is being indoors too much. I get cabin fever in the summer because our heat is so dangerous.

I was looking at my spring, early summer photos last night -- April until mid-June -- I was really happy with the garden. Right now, I just need to help it survive. It looks pitiful.

What looks really good right now are my ANNUAL zinnias and brown-eyed susans and the foliage on my fall plants -- joe pye, solidago, swamp sunflower. The perennials that look good -- Russian sage, ageratum (surprised by that), and most agastache.

So... I'm thinking that I should grow for spring and fall and stop trying to make the garden look good in July and August. Cover the gardens with annual seeds of the susans and stick verbena and call it good ... close my eyes and forget about it!


    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 7:50AM
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