Moving from Florida to Connecticut - Help

sharbear50(6a Bella Vista)January 28, 2011

My husband has a job offer in Connecticut. I am usually in the Florida Gardening forum. I think we will be looking for a house to rent in the Hartford/Granby area. Are there any areas we should avoid? Will any of my plants grow there? I have succulents, and amaryllis that I would like to keep. Thanks for any help or suggestions. Oh, does anyone have some pictures, plants, snow, landscapes that you can post for me to see?

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Welcome to the New England forum! There are several CT gardeners here, though I don't know if any are in the Hartford area. I love having 4 seasons and being able to get outside and enjoy it all year, though I don't know how much gardening gets done in CT in winter - in NH gardening is only available for 3 seasons since we get buried in snow in January. (After spending much of my summer on the Gulf coast, I found the summer pretty unbearable in that part of the south.) Up north you just have to dress warmly in the winter - ultralight longjohns are my favorite way to stay cozy and I usually wear 2 or 3 layers on top of that. Summer days are really long - the better to garden - and fall colors are beautiful. Spring has an outburst of flowering trees and bulbs followed by late spring perennials.

Your amaryllis and probably most of your succulents will be pot plants here. I put my pots of amaryllis and nonhardy succulents out after frost danger has passed in the spring, initially in the shade and then gradually moving to sunnier areas (if needed) so that the leaves don't burn. In the fall they get well washed to remove pests as much as possible and then brought in to sunny windows for the winter. Some plants will over-winter well in a garage that stays above freezing or a cold cellar (one without a furnace.) If you tell us what succulents you have, CT gardeners can let you know how well they overwinter and how they treat them. For photos, look at any of the ones in the bird threads here on the New England forum - many of those photos are close-ups, but others have a wider view of the gardens, and Claire has linked all of the previous bird threads at the beginning of the one I gave you.

Here is a thread on outdoor holiday decorations that are garden & plant related:

Here is a thread that shows one of my beds, summer and winter:

Here is one on foliage in the garden with close-up views:

Here is one from this season with photos from various gardens:

and an older one with some stunning gardens entitled "Framing the view":

There was a nice hydrangea thread a couple of years ago:

Here is the garden website of Mindy, one of our frequent contributors:

If you put the word 'photos' into the search box down near the bottom of the New England forum's listing of posts, you'll get a whole bunch of posts, many of which are gardens from the posters who frequent this forum. Enjoy!

Here is a link that might be useful: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #1

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 1:01PM
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sharbear50(6a Bella Vista)

nhbabs, thank you so much for all the info. I will not miss the Florida heat in the summer. I am looking forward to a change in scenery.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2011 at 10:51AM
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Yes, welcome to the NE forum! Gardening here can be challenging but also very rewarding; we have lots of plants here that just won't grow in the south.

My parents lived in Granby, CT for about 20 years; my dad was in the FAA at Bradley airport. It's a beautiful part of New England, but I have to warn you that the summers can be pretty unbearable in parts of the Connecticut River valley - probably not as bad as in Florida, though!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 10:59AM
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OMG. I would stay in FL right now! :D

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 11:09AM
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ctlady_gw(z6 CT)

I have to say, having a daughter living in the SF Bay area (where everything blooms ALL the time!) that there is something particularly satisfying about New England gardening. I think it has to do with the cycle you experience (both in your garden and in your soul!) -- the cold, "dead" looking winter garden, followed by the most amazing rebirth each spring as young green shoots forge their way through the cold ground and burst into bloom, followed by a short but spectacular summer of all manner of color, followed by an intensely beautiful autumn, marked by a warm, sunny days with a deep chill in the air at nights, a spectacular blaze of color everywhere, and hints of snowy winter evenings to come filled with hot cocoa, warm hearths, good books ...

OK... and hints of blizzards and ice dams. But still...

I spoke with one of my daughter's friends in California who had lived briefly in CT at one point, renting a house in Greenwich where she was quite sure they had "killed" the garden when they moved in during the late autumn and everything was brown and withered. She described the astonishment (and relief!) she felt when winter snows cleared to reveal all those emerald green shoots in early spring. I think for those of us who have to endure the cold, dark days of a northern winter, there is nothing on earth more soul-satisfying than the beauty of a New England spring. We lived in Houston for years and I couldn't WAIT to get back to New England where crabapples and dogwoods burst into bloom in spring, and sugar maples lend their blazing red to the autumn landscape. (Agree, could do with shorter winters... but I do actually love the first few snowfalls.)

Mostly, I love thinking of my garden, sleeping under that blanket of snow, and the thought that each spring, I discover the whole garden anew. Things I forgot were there, things that were busy multiplying (okay, yes, and things I THOUGHT were there but discover the voles ate during the winter under the cover of snowfall...). Basically, spring brings wondrous new discoveries as well as old, beloved friends returning in the garden. It is a cycle not only of one's garden, but of one's soul, and for me, is incredibly satisfying. And it is something only we cold-weather gardeners can fully appreciate, I believe. I predict you will discover a whole new perspective on gardening ... starting with the incredibly spirit-lifting bloom of a (potted!) amaryllis opening into stunning bloom in a sunny window against the backdrop of a frozen landscape.

Welcome to Connecticut!!!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 1:05PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

ctlady has written a lovely eloquent post on New England seasons that is a hard act to follow. I won't try to match it, but I just wanted to link a light-hearted thread on New England Seasons - Traditional and Real.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 4:27PM
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sharbear50(6a Bella Vista)

Thank you all for the info. Blizzards and Ice Dams is what I don't want to remember when I lived in Connecticut in the past...many years ago, late 1970's - early 1980's if I remember right. I just hope we can find a nice house to rent. I don't want an apartment. We have a dog so a good sized yard would be nice. I HATE's not the change that bothers me but the transition...the actual move. Yuck!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 4:19PM
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sharbear50(6a Bella Vista)

Oh my goodness! I just looked at weather dot com. It looks like you all are going to get a really bad Blizzard. I am glad we are not moving up there 'till March. Stay safe everyone.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 8:01AM
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leira(6 MA)

Sharon, don't this rate, there will still be plenty of snow for you when you get here in March!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 7:30PM
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sharbear50(6a Bella Vista)

leira, yes it seems that way, doesn't it? Still, I can't wait to get there and get settled in.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 8:33AM
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sharbear50(6a Bella Vista)

I am finally settled in Windsor, Connecticut, actually got here end of March. We saw 3 snows since being here.
I never dreamed I would have such a hard time with this move. Movers lost stuff, car transporter damaged my car, bedroom furniture (King size) wouldn't fit up the stairs of our townhouse, can't find a job. Thank God my husband found work! I am trying to be optimistic...but it is hard.
After living in Florida for over 20 years, this is HARD!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 9:04AM
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Sharon -

So good to hear from you again. My sincere sympathies on all the moving troubles - it seems like a nightmare! Moving in the best of circumstances is no fun, but your experience sounds dreadful. When we first moved into our old farm house we discovered that the boxsprings (double) wouldn't go up the stairs, so DH sawed the wooden structure in half and we folded them. (The replacements had split box springs.) We also discovered that the new living room couch was too wide for all of the doors into the house, so that had to go into storage until we were able to replace one door( which needed replacing anyway) with wider ones.

Glad that your husband has a job and best wishes on finding one yourself. Does your townhouse have a place that you can garden, either in the ground or in pots? If so, I imagine you can attend one of the plant swaps - in my experience folks are thrilled to be able to give plants to someone just getting started & you don't need to bring anything. If you were closer you'd be welcome to come by & pick up a plant or 10.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 12:19PM
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sharbear50(6a Bella Vista)

nhbabs, I will have to container garden for now. The community here is setting up a community garden where residents can have a plot but it isn't ready yet.
I had an old farmhouse once in Virginia where I had to get a split queen size bed, but that house was built prior to 1946. It just doesn't seem right in a new townhouse. Thanks for the welcome message.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 2:59PM
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Just caught this thread, and as a former southerner (Alabama and Georgia) I must say I just do love New England gardening. The gardens were one of the first things I noticed our first summer three years ago. They are beautiful, and it seems that people here put much more effort into their flower gardens. That baffled me because the south has the warm weather suitable for so many plants and a long growing season. I asked a friend from Birmingham who came to visit me in August why she thought our gardens up here in the land of snow look so much better. She looked at me amazed and said, "Who can stand to garden in the south during June, July, and August?"

Excellent point.

Two years ago I gardened up here in NH in August in LONG SLEEVES!!! I wrote all my relatives and friends back home and bragged about it.

Even more amazing, I never saw a peony in person until I was an adult. That alone is worth being a New England gardener!

(But, I do miss the fragrant gardenia and southern wisteria!)

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 9:14PM
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Hi Sharbear,
Let me extend a personal invitation to the plant swap at my home in Lexington, MA. Its a bit of a hike for you, but you'd get to meet some people behind the website monikers. You'd also be just 20 minutes from Mindy Arbo's small arboretum.

Keep in touch.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 12:58PM
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