Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Welcome to the Twilight ZONE of gardening

To some folks this gardentalk or garden speak sounds like you just entered the twilight zone.
You are hearing English but what are they saying?

I am not talking about the Latin, the scientific name ( genus and species).The Latin terms are way beyond me. They can be very helpful when you head is buried in a good horticulture book.
But when your hands are buried in dirt, common name work just fine and all you really need to know is the zone you are in and the range of zones for the seeds or plant you plan to plant.

I have made my fair share of mistakes. I have tried bulbs that they were selling out of planting season. Heck, you can buy Tulip bulbs in May at KMart or Target.

Plant in the zone. I live in Zone 9 on the United States Zone Map. But on the West's 24 climate zones, I really live in Zone 16.

May I brag, according to Sunset Garden Book, Zone 16 is " One of Northern California's finest horticultural climates. It consists of thermal belts in the coastal climate area, which is dominated by ocean weather about 85 percent of the time and by inland weather about 15 percent. This zone gets more heat in the summer than Zone 17 and has warmer winters than Zone 15. That's a happy combination for gardening." Yes, it is still really great for subtropicals like ginger lily and Bird of Paradise.

I will be moving to Zone 7. I look forward to the change and challenge. I will get to plant tulips with out putting them in the fridge for six weeks and have massive lilac bushes.

The Bird of Paradise stays here. It was given to us by a former neighbor in San Mateo, before we bought this house. It was potted and doing poorly. We kept it potted and it continues to do poorly for another year, till we figured out where we wanted it. We finally planted it in the ground, next to the fence and it is now spectacular. It really looks like a bird in flight. It just opened this past week end and I expect ten blooms this year.


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