Best place to live/garden???

bellasmom06March 30, 2011

Hi there...I'm 52 and an avid gardner. I'm looking to move south from Missouri to get away from the long cold winters. I will have to work an office job. I'd love a mostly new home, small with a half an acre or more to garden. Can any of you tell me of a nice place to go? I'm used to hot humid summers here in Missouri. I've been in the DFW area and liked it, but that was in the fall. Thanks!!! Kathy

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chena(z8 Texas)

Hey Kathy!!
I live out in Millsap TX. .There is a town just East of us Called Weatherford.. It is a cute town with a small College. Lots of new places to shop,tons of Antique and junk shops,Farmers Markets and some very nice homes.. I 20 runs right by.. Besides that you would only be 25/30 min. from me LOL and Pam (pkponder) . You could come hang out with us when we have a Chick Date.. ;0)


    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 12:19PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I always love it when guys from up north say they have hot humid summers. We go there to escape the heat. Maybe it is the length of the summers that is the huge difference. How many days does one log in above the big triple digit mark. East of IH 35 (highway) is more like the south and west of the highway is more like the west. What kind of soil are you used to of. West of IH 35 is challenging because of the alkaline limestone problems but the swimming and vistas are beautiful. It is good to look into the soil maop of Texas. Are you interested in tall pines on rolling hills, sandy soil, black clay, limestone rubbly hills, Do you like to swim in beautiful limestone stream or cloudy snakey pits. You should take a driving trip and just wander around.

I am outside west of Austin. Things are pretty expensive house wise here but the music and swimming are great. I do have to bring in soil for my Vegetable garden and I have mostly natives planted. East of Austin is more fertile and WARMER and wetter in the winter time and I think house values are cheaper .. I have a winter garden going ALL winter with only a few unpleasant surprises.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 12:30PM
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The last issue of the USAA magazine listed Waco as in the top ten for military retirement. It has better soil than where I am and gets a little more rainfall, but we are all pretty dry this year; except for way east TX and maybe Houston.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 12:49PM
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texasflip(Nacogdoches, TX z8)

I love Texas, all parts of it are special to me, but here are some things to consider:

Depending on where you move to in Texas, don't expect to be able to grow anything that needs significant chill hours (I'm thinking of apples because I know people up north love their apples). Also, just because we have a long summer, don't expect to grow your green beans and tomatoes all summer long like you can up north; there is a dead period that lasts at least a month in late summer when it is simply too hot to grow anything. Also, from visiting my dad's family in NE Kansas in the summer, I can tell you there is a HUGE different in the heat and humidity up there compared to Texas, especially the Gulf Coast. Expect to experience weeks where the temperature doesn't drop below 80 degrees at night and it's still 90 degrees out at 9:30 pm.

That being said, I'm fond of the Brenham area.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 2:14PM
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Thanks Kylie!!! There are a huge number of affordable homes on anacre or so in your area!!! Taxes seem pretty high though... don't make Texas seem very inviting! I am used to 100 degree days, though not for weeks at a time, and 90's in May. I'm used to heavy gumbo type soil, and lots of rocks. Heavy deluge rains, and weeks of no rain. There are drawbacks every where...maybe worse there...
Texasflip...could I grow Hostas near Dallas???
Thanks guys!!!!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 2:59PM
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I am in the san antonio area- actually outside of town by 10 miles or so- we have 20 acres, we moved here last year, from Chicago- all I can tell you is that I was not happy with the weather up north, and I will take the heat and the droughts and I praise God everyday for living down south! I have learned you can not plant all the same things and so forth as well- however I have also learned that you can plant tons of other things that you could not up north- like citrus trees, bananas etc! there are so many tropicals that you can see all over at least in the spring and summer, as anywhere there will always be drawbacks anywhere- but we are 1.5 hrs from the beach in Corpus, and close to everything I could ever need or want - There are lots and lots of nice places in Texas- I can think of several others off the top of my head, the Austin area, even small towns like Floresville, Converse, China Grove and you can be close but yet away- Good Luck in your search! However- the hostas that we had all over in Chicago, I have seen none so far here! Oh and that in Sept/ Oct when we thought we would go pick apples- that season was over already! oh and knee high by the 4th of July for corn- that is not true here either, maybe the second crop haha

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 3:19PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I like Wimberley Texas and the hill country area. Medina, Boerne, Leaky. There are pockets of good dirt in the bottom lands. If one has a view, you will need to haul in dirt. It is alkaline in these areas. Between Bastrop and Elgin is a beautiful area of pines and rolling hills with sandy loam. Blackland prairies has fertile black clay. Nacadoches is gorgeous and wetter than me. Houston and the coast is good if you like humidity and tropicals. Can you say MOSQUITOES, but lots of work.....and cars.

I included a site to the natural regions of Texas. It will show you a bit about the soil changes. I am on the east fracture Zone of the Edwards Plateau and I have limestone rubble and cliche but I can go west from here and one gets into granite sands of the Lano uplift. Totally different.

We logged 59 days above 100 2 years ago. That is why I need to be by good places for swimming. Almost as important as plants. I can bring in dirt but a good swimmable body of water (Blanco River, Perdernales River, Hamilton Pool, Lake Travis are not far from me) can not be created by me. I hate swimming pools. I like it where the land is a bit more arid and the nights a tad cooler.

Here is a link that might be useful: Natural regions of Texas

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 4:43PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Land taxes Are high all over Texas because we have no income tax. DO NOT COME TO AUSTIN IF YOU ARE FRIGHTENED OF HIGH TAXES. There are some ways to get around it. Build your house nice on the inside and tarpaper the outside, Get a piece of land with a wildlife exemption or AG exemption ( acreage). Build underground, live in a cave. I have a friend in a cave. Live in a trailer and DO NOT take it off its axel. There is a difference in the taxes county to county.

I just love maps.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 4:54PM
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lol ... maybe we should start looking into caves here too j/k - we went with acreage w/ ag exemption- which honestly is not too bad, we have cows and chickens and they help with the soil!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 6:01PM
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lavatea(TX - 8a)

I'm from the Dallas area but have been living in Tyler going on four years. Tyler is a bigger E. Texas town so an office job might be found.

I don't recommend the place if you like big city life, b/c although it's a larger town out this way, it's no Dallas or Houston. But the gardens here are AMAZING!

Tyler is known for its roses, so of course there are those. The azaleas are beautiful this time of year. I see daffodils all over the area. Also dogwoods are very popular and do well. From the plants that grow well here, I gather the soil is fairly acidic. There are also lots of pines.

Cost of living here seems to be fairly comparable (in my experience) with a suburb of Dallas. It is more humid here than Dallas, but for some reason I don't feel like it's quite as hot during the summer. Maybe we get a better breeze here or less concrete helps or something.

The birds seem to be more lively and vibrant here as well.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 7:47PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Having been all over Texas, gardening wise, I'd chose east Texas (Lufkin-Tyler-Nacogdoches-Conroe or so-called Piney Forest or something like that). More rain, better soil and easier to work with too, more plants to grow.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 8:00PM
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plantmaven(8b/9a TX)

To give you a rough idea. In San Antonio in nice area, a brick house appx 2500 sg ft, with a small yard the tax appraisal would be $167,000 depending on the neighborhood. In Baytown, TX (30 miles east of Houston) a similar house would cost appx $145,000.
My son's house has pecan trees,pines, magnolias, roses, azeleas and a tangerine tree. The tangerine tree produces the best seedless tangerines I have ever eaten. And I grew up in extreme south TX where citrus is grown commercially.

It is just a short drive to Galveston Island.
Of course lots of mosquitos.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 10:05PM
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If your looking for great soil to grow plants in, I think somewhere between San Antonio, and Floresville would be perfect. The soil there is a red sandy soil, you can grow anything in it. There is a christmas tree farm out there, and an olive orchard. Houses are very reasonable, they have alot of secluded subdivisions, tucked away off the main hwy, with 5 acre tracks. Right now there seem to be quite afew homes for sale, older folks are sizing down. This would be in Wilson County. Barbra,

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 10:15PM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

Just to inform you that hostas CAN be grown in the North Texas area ........ I have many that have survived the heat, the cold and all in between as long as they get plenty of water.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 9:05AM
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Barbara - I am partial to that area between SA and Floresville as well- lol as that is where I am, I never actually visted Floresville until we moved out this way- I love my house and everything about our property- except the mesquite trees! I think we have great soil too- When I visited Floresville for the first time I fell in love with it. In fact, when I go to the grocery store or anything - that is where I choose to go. Which town are you from? We are Bexar County just outside Elmendorf lines

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 9:36AM
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pjtexgirl(7b DFW)

I moved to Burleson (Fort Worth pretty much) from Valley/desert part of Los Angeles. I hate cold and tolerate heat well. It gets VERY hot here for a LONG time. I've always gardened in the sunbelt. I am used to plants that trive in the sunbelt. I am more prone to try to grow stuff that likes things even warmer. *Jacarandas* sigh.

I don't miss growing pine trees, peonys,lilacs,pansys(except in winter) nasturiums(short time in spring) certain types of roses (bourbons? galicas? bucks?)and other cool temp acid soil loving roses, big clematis( I grow clematis but it doesn't look anything like it's northern cousins!), or berries. I can only successfully grow blackberries or strawberries without a major overhaul of even the alkaline water I use. There are also a TON of trees you cannot grow this includes most Maples, (except asian) Laurels, or northern oaks. Trees rarily change to any real fall color. It just goes hot to cold here. Rhodenrons,camelias, gardenias, and azalas aren't going to look very good either without a tremendous and expensive overhaul of the land.
I'm willing to bet there are just as many plants you can't grow here because of the heat as the cold up north. These poor plants just fade out because they cannot take up enough water in the heat to stay alive. Even morning glories wilt mid-day and get yellowish and blah in August and September.
That said I can grow flowers here all year long. Pansies and violets aren't overly exciting unless nothing else is blooming. They look pretty good mid-January. I start actively gardening for flowers in February. My Carolina Jessamine is in full flower with the daffodils. (Tulips are annuals here.), I can grow hardy tropicals in the ground such as Brugmansias, Esperanzas (lost one in the last winters but I will try again.), and I know the local Texans find Crepe myrtles boring but I can't resist flowering,bright colored trees, especially purple ones.
You can grow hardy dinner sized hibiscus in the ground. You can grow certain types of citrus even up here. With my tropical plants I do bring them in but only for a very short while. I enjoy a long blooming period too. Spring comes early and winter shows up late. Some folks say there is no winter. I hope you love it here as much as I do :)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 4:46PM
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chena(z8 Texas)

Weatherford is in Parker Co. I live in Palo Pinto Co. My property line is the county division line.. Their taxes are a bit higher than mine but you also have to remember we don't pay state taxes here ;0).. You could Google Earth any of the areas you might be interested in just to get a peek at what is there.. You could start by getting post office addresses and search out from there..


    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 12:58PM
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One of the lady's posted about Tyler, well I live about 1/2 way between DFW and Tyler and have been here for a long time, about half of my life and have lived and worked a lot of other places all over the western USA. I have found some places just about as good as East Texas but none better. I live about 30 miles east of Tyler and at 7:30 am the commute from here to down town Tyler takes about 40 minutes. As far as gardening goes there is pretty much nothing you can not grow here, some things are a little challenging. For land anything from 1/4 acre to thousands of acres are available. Just about anywhere in the area a 50 foot well will supply all gardening needs and if you want to drink it you go down about 200 feet. As far as weather goes, 75 miles north gets a lot of snow and ice and temps about 20 degrees colder, while 100 or so miles south gets the high summer humidity. Here around Tyler we get a little of both but generally our extremes only last a few days then it is back to day time 50 to 60 and night time 30 to 40 during the winter, add about 30 degrees to the high for summer time.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 10:45PM
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i think you would be happy in almost any part of texas east of san antonio or austin west of there i'm not too familiar with
i'll tell you a bit about my area, Cypress, Tx northwest of Houston but you can't really tell when you leave Houston city proper. In my particular area, we have lots of pine trees and some oak (growing naturally). Jobs are apparently not to hard to come by. Your problem would be where to find a 1/2 acre lot. Our neighborhood has 1/2 acre-2 acre lots (houses 30 yrs old) but we had to look for a good while to find it. Our soil is very sandy (again natural)and you have to add amendments to get healthy plants. We don't have problems with mosquitoes here and we do have a pool (which actually gets uncomfortably warm to swim in in late summer) i don't know why -several folks in the neighborhood do have mosquito complaints. We lived in Lake Jackson-west of Galveston for years and the mosquitos were terrible-you had to spray down with off to go outside and work (even in Dec and the cooler months).
My sister in nw arkansas has the most beautiful roses i've ever seen-very little soil amendments but cold winters also.
Were i to move to garden, i'd think about the Nacogdoches area (great place for camillas). Don't know about jobs there...

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 11:54AM
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PKponder TX(7b)

I'll weigh in too! I live in Azle which is ~ 17 miles north of Fort Worth where you should have no problem finding an office job. I live on about a 1/4 acre residential lot with mostly sandy loam and lots of oak trees. The property tax seems high but I suppose that is offset by the lack of property tax. I love my soil to dig in and also amend with compost to help hold nutrients and moisture. We do spend a good part of the summer running from the air conditioned house to the air conditioned car to the air conditioned office but I think our winters are pretty great! C'mon down!


    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 5:13PM
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    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 12:21PM
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I have apple trees, and they did great the one year we didn't get a late frost. lol

I'm partial to the panhandle myself, where you get a full 4 season year, and summers aren't so hot. Amarillo, not Lubbock, is my preference.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 5:42PM
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I am in real estate, and my favorite area AND growing area is Denton. You really got all "four seasons" up here. We have a little more rain than in Dallas which is nice. You get a break on the water bill at least! We have gorgeous storms here too with the winds mixing with Oklahoma. It has even been known to snow here which is nice! Prices to live here are not extreme either. I really have sensational luck growing all of my vegetables out here. i guess we have a decent amount of humidity!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 3:18PM
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