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Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) Aside from sun exposure & watering needs, how much do you pay attention to what is "Native" to your region when doing your gardening? How much do you pay attention to your "Hardiness Zone" when doing your gardening? Do you know what your hardiness zone is?

So many things at your "local" nurseries and garden centers are not in fact native to your area or good for your hardiness zone! (I have found this to be the case so often while roaming, looking at tags). Do you buy it anyway and hope for the best or opt for something native or for your hardiness zone instead?


message 2: by K.C. (new)

K.C. Neal (kcneal) | 29 comments I do pay a lot of attention to this - I live in a very dry zone 6 area (SW Idaho), and when I bought my current house 3 years ago I started planting lots of water-thrifty natives (and some water-thrifty non-natives). My goal was to have a front yard that eventually will need little or no water. Still have some turf lawn and that probably won't change, but the borders look great with lots of lavender, sage, Russian sage, spirea, native grasses, etc.


message 3: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Jo, I have found that frequently tags at the nurseries are misleading! I even found a book at the library that was totally off by one zone on all the plants listed in the book! The librarian asked me to make a notation for the frontpiece of the book, since it was really an excellent reference except for the zones! So I pay attention, but also do my research. I find that using microclimates in my yard can help too. I am enticing a shrub from zone 6 to grow near my house where it faces south and has a stone knee high retaining wall. I am absolutely blanking on the name, but I think the common name is Myrtle (flowers like a Butterfly bush?).

Kate, where in SW Idaho? I lived in Melba, south of Nampa, for 13 years? That is where I took my love of growing things outdoors for the first time- learned gardening there, mostly by trial and error. I found I had to relearn almost everything when I moved to Iowa, since it was so humid here! Whole different sort of problems to contend with, like fungus, root rot. There, as long as you irrigated it, almost everything grew. My irises were incredible! And my raspberries!


message 4: by K.C. (new)

K.C. Neal (kcneal) | 29 comments Hey, Miriam! I'm in Boise! I grew up here. I hear you - trial and error is right. I spent five years in the the south SF Bay Area, where the climate is mild and you can completely abuse plants and they still grow. My mom always reminds me that this whole gardening thing is a series of experiments, some of which are bound to fail. :)


message 5: by Terri (new)

Terri | 480 comments Right now I'm in a vegetable planting mode so the only thing I've been paying attention to is my zone (9) where I place my tub/beds so the plants can get enough sun.

I've always loved rose bushes and those grow well out here although they are not native.

There is a place out here (on the other side of town) that is run by the water company and they give classes on native landscaping, wise water management, composting, etc. I haven't been able to attend any of them yet--but I'm hoping I can manage it in the near future. They even teach you how to put together a drip water system, as well as worm composting (which I already have).

I know there are certain plants that if planted out here can integrate into the native plants and take over--so I'm aware there are some plants that shouldn't be planted--I only need to find out which ones.


message 6: by Terri (new)

Terri | 480 comments Forgot to add as far as edibles--this area used to have tons of orchards--almonds, apples, peaches and oranges as well as onion fields before the city was developed. I would love it if the community would start a community orchard where everyone can volunteer and also pick fruits and nuts in season. That's my dream.


message 7: by Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (last edited Feb 15, 2011 12:33PM) (new)

Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) Trial & error is definitely a part of gardening as is research which is why I try to know my natives for here on the coast, learn my natives for our place up north and pay attention to my hardiness zones for each. I haven't found tags to be that inacurate here; what I've found more than anything is plants being sold in this area which aren't appropriate for our zones. I always have my cell with me and when I come across one, I do a quick search to confirm that the plant isn't appropriate for my zone.

Within the last 10 years or so (I don't remember exactly when) the US Hardiness Zone map was adjusted and zones were broken down a bit more (i.e. Zone 7 is now 7, 7a & 7b depending on where you fall on the map etc) which seems to have only added to confusion on the retail market.

Knowing & concentrating on your Natives can help eliminate zone questions.

Also, chain nursery & garden centers that have their main headquaters in another state/region of the country often have plants that are appropriate for that area which aren't appropriate for all of the garden centers they own. (I worked for one and can vouch that it happened then and still does).


message 8: by Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (last edited Feb 15, 2011 12:40PM) (new)

Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) Kate wrote: "I do pay a lot of attention to this - I live in a very dry zone 6 area (SW Idaho), and when I bought my current house 3 years ago I started planting lots of water-thrifty natives (and some water-th..."

That must be a big undertaking but worth it water wise and must look great!

As my arthritis progresses and my overall physicial limitations increase, I concentrate more & more on low maintenance Native perennials & low maintenance perennials appropriate to my zones, water & soil needs to lessen my overall physical work in my gardens. I've narrowed down my veggies & herbs as well to what I know I can grow well and use.


message 9: by Terri (new)

Terri | 480 comments Yep. I bought two blackberry bushes from Home Depot because they were on sales for $6.97 each. They're called King Ebony. When I got home, I looked it up and found out that they're supposed to be grown in cold climates such as back east. :( Unfortunately I had already potted them up. So I decided to keep them and see how they tolerate the climate before I summarily discard them.

However, I will be bringing my S. Calif. Guide with me next time I go shopping for new plants. Home Depot also sells Elberta Peaches which are meant to grow in colder zones like Canada. Sigh. Luckily I bought that at the nursery and found a perfect one for S. Calif. with a low chill factor.


Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) Terri, for Home Depot and Lowes, keep your receipt-any kind of perennial that does not return the following season can be returned to them for a full refund! (I keep the pots with the bar code on them with the receipt taped to it in our pantry).

I bought a Peony despite it not being for either of my zones because I fell in love with it. Its receipt and container are waiting in the pantry to see what happens to it this season. If it doesn't come back, I'm taking it in its original container with my receipt back to the store for a refund.


Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) Some how my posts are out of order here lol! Those classes sounds great Terri!

Yes, knowing what Not to plant is as important or more so than knowing what to plant since some species are evasive and not only grow out of control but wipe out true natives!


message 12: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Plants can also just take over the yard! The previous owner of my house planted a trumpet vine, which sends out roots for about a hundred feet around, which sucker. I cut it down the first year I was here since it was also pulling the porch off the house, and I am STILL fighting suckers nine years later.

You are much more organized than I am Jo. I can hardly remember to put the tags into my garden book, not to mention saving a pot with receipt for a year! I must emulate you!

I don't miss the days where everything had to be irrigated or it died in Idaho. I never have to water my grass here, and only water plants when I first put them in.

I do have a lot of natives, or hybrids from natives, in my yard. But still there are some things I love that aren't native to the area.

Kate, I worked in Boise for three years right before I left Idaho at St. Al's psych unit. And of course, a lot of activities take place there. It is a nice town.


message 13: by Cheryl S. (new)

Cheryl S. | 3501 comments Enjoyed reading about everyone's tips and troubles with zones. I live in zone 4 and pay close attention to zones and only once in a while try a zone 5 plant on the south side of my house which is very protected. I have a lot of "prairie" plants such as cone flowers which are native to my area. I've gardened in the same place long enough to know what will survive almost anything Minnesota can dish out weatherwise and pretty much stick to things like day lilys, iris, peonies, asters, phlox, sedum, salvia, old fashioned roses etc. I fill in with annuals where I think I need more color.

Our local nursery pretty much sells what will do well here--I think it saves them a lot of hassle with unsatisified customers.


message 14: by Terri (new)

Terri | 480 comments Jo: Thanks for the info. Unfortunately, those receipts are long gone. I'll have to remember to do that in the future. I thought there was a three-month return policy at HD and since Blackberries don't even begin to show up til the summer I figured there was no point in keeping the receipt. Sigh.

Cheryl: My local nursery (across town) is awesome that way too. When I showed up there and saw they didn't carry and King Ebony blackberries--I knew I was in trouble. LOL. They are the ones that helped me pick out my peach tree and blueberries.

We are now due for another four-day rainstorm with chilled temps (for S. Calif.) and of course ALL of my plants are in full bloom after a couple weeks of 70+ degrees. Sigh. Ah well, that's life with plants.


message 15: by Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (last edited Feb 15, 2011 07:36PM) (new)

Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) It'll come in handy for the future then! And that's how it works for HD or Lowes, if something doesn't return the following season (year) like it's supposed to, they'll give you a full refund if you have the receipt and bring the plant back in it's original container with the bar code # that matches the receipt. (I worked in the nursery oF a HD). Luckily I've only had to do this with one perennial in the last 10 years from HD - we'll see about that Peony I mentioned above! Everything I've ever bought from Lowes, annuals or perennials has died quickly so I don't buy from them anymore at all.


message 16: by Terri (new)

Terri | 480 comments Interesting. I've bought from both HD and Lowe's. I'll have to start paying better attention to what lives/dies and where it was bought.

If the Peony works out, I want to see pictures. What color did you get?


Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) I have pictures on my blog from last year when I bought it (it bloomed after I brought it home), I'll find a link and post it here later today. It was a very deep dark fuchia color - gorgeous! I also bought a white peony which is for my zone and I'm waiting to see what will happen with that one as well this year.


message 18: by Terri (new)

Terri | 480 comments Oooo, I bet they're lovely! Can't wait to see them. :)


message 19: by Miriam (new)

Miriam I have had good luck with Lowe's too. That is interesting that you haven't. I have had horrid luck with some of the mail order places. I rarely buy by mail anymore.

A grocery store near here has a great garden center, believe it or not. It is run by a master gardener and she is wonderful. I unfortunately buy far too much from there, it is such a temptation. She has lovely garden accessories, too.

I have a lot of peonies that were here when I bought the house. I like to think that they are original (house was built in 1900) but I suspect the previous owner put them in. Peonies are great since they divide so well as long as you don't plant the divisions too deep! Peonies won't bloom the first year after transplanting usually, and won't bloom if too deep. Plant the same depth it was.

In the downtown garden I tend for the city, I am developing a hedge of peonies. We got a grant to put a sitting wall of limestone along the sidewalk, and so I am slowly starting a hedge just inside of that. The garden was just a hodgepodge of donated plants before I started, and the city manager (from AZ) is not used to that look, keeps fussing. So I am trying to make it look more balanced and planned.


Petra mostly on hiatus in hospital in Mexico (petra-x) A low wall edged with peonies sounds fantastic. You must live in a very forward-thinking city.


message 21: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Not really. Small town Iowa. Trying to survive. For years, it was a good old boy city, with no improvements. We finally got a more forward thinking mayor and city council, they finally hired a city manager, and things are now getting done that should have been done decades ago! There has been talk about a community center for thirty years. It just opened last year. And they still could not get support for including an indoor pool with it. I was crushed about that. Downtown is all of one block of one street. The park I tend is where an ice cream store was torn down. Half is grass, half is flower beds with concrete sidewalks around where the small building was. The wall is along the street sidewalks. I will try to get pictures this summer.


Petra mostly on hiatus in hospital in Mexico (petra-x) I'll look forward to them.


message 23: by Renea (new)

Renea Winchester (reneawinchester) My first daffodil bloomed today. I'm in zone seven (I think) in Atlanta. I like to grow new (fun) things. My friend Billy and I cleaned out his seeds two days ago (he's 80 years old...saves seeds). We found a container of "unidentified seeds" which my FB friends later identified as cotton. So, we're now in the process of getting USDA permission to plant a few seeds, just to see what it looks like. Won't that be neat?


Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) That will be great! And isn't the first bloom of the year wonderful?!

Sorry it took me so long to find the peony links!

Here's a link to a photo of my white peony: http://digginaround.blogspot.com/2010...

And here's one of the pink: http://digginaround.blogspot.com/2010...


message 25: by Cheryl S. (new)

Cheryl S. | 3501 comments Renea wrote: "My first daffodil bloomed today. I'm in zone seven (I think) in Atlanta. I like to grow new (fun) things. My friend Billy and I cleaned out his seeds two days ago (he's 80 years old...saves seeds)..."

How fun!! Can't wait to hear the results.


message 26: by Beth (new)

Beth Mathison | 34 comments I'm in Wisconsin - Zone 5. I agree with trial and error. I have good luck with a lot of hardy fruits and veggies. More sensitive plants get damaged in the harsh winters. I have to admit I'm jealous (and happy) for those people having daffodils bloom already. We still have 6 inches of snow on the ground. I know mine are down there, though :-)


Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) I miss the snow already! We don't have any left down here on the coast. We do have snowdrops blooming along the fence out back though!


message 28: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly Comeau (kimberlykcomeau) | 299 comments I'm in zone 7a (which used to be 7). I can understand why the zones were changed. Our weather here has changed in the past decade. Our last frost date used to be about April 15, but we'd wait until May 1 to plant the tender transplants, just in case. This week, we've already experienced temperatures in the 80's. I have a couple turnip greens in bloom! They've *never* bolted this early before. I'm paying more and more attention to drought-tolerant plants, and have planted a number of native fruit trees and shrubs.

Miriam, you have my sympathy. My house's previous owner also planted trumpet vine. It is my bane. (I shudder when I see it for sale.) I'm astonished at the size of trumpet vine roots. And where the roots don't go, their seeds do, and I swear, every last one of 'em sprout! I know no one who has managed to eradicate trumpet vine. Control seems to be the best we can hope for.


message 29: by Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (last edited Mar 20, 2012 06:39PM) (new)

Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) Yes, there have been changes to the US Hardiness Zone Map and I'm glad you posted here reminding me I need to post a link here and create a thread. I'm still 7a on the coast but my northern garden is now 6a from 6. When I lived 13 miles inland from here, I was in zone 6 and I couldn't understand why my garden up north (in the mountains) was in that same zone! The conditions, growing season length and temps (avg 1st/last frost, how hot and cold it gets etc) were completely different! Glad they're beginning to make adjustments.


message 30: by Cheryl S. (new)

Cheryl S. | 3501 comments I don't know if my growing zone has changed or not, I haven't thought to check it out. I've always been zone 4 and would be leery to try zone 5 plants.


message 31: by Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (last edited Mar 20, 2012 06:44PM) (new)

Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) Here is the link to the 2012 map: http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PH... You can click on your state to get a better look at the colors/zones. A twitter friend has gone from Zone 3a to Zone 4b! There are many changes, most not so drastic.

These updates will change what local nurseries carry, especially the independant ones. Big box store garden centers probably won't change much because while they carry zone appropriate plants, they also carry plants appropriate to their Headquarters' zone which may not be for the zone you actually live in. (I.e. Home Depot/Atlanta GA and Lowes/Texas).

And correction, I'm now 7b instead of 7a on the coast. When I searched by zip code, I found that out. When I look at the map, I'm 7a.

It's still confusing! Updates or not.


message 32: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Kimberly, you have my empathy! After ten years I am seeing less of the trumpet vine in the yard, but it still pops up some. Still fighting yucca that was planting along some steps, too. Yucca is beautiful, but prickly so folks need to think about that when planting- when it reaches full size, is it going to hurt people or tear clothes? My grandad insisted on a barberry hedge to prevent the post man from cutting through his yard (yes, my grandfather was a mean old man) and it was always tearing nylons and clothing of my grandmother and anyone else trying to enter a car on the passenger side. To this day I hate barberry (which is also invasive in some areas, including Iowa).


Petra mostly on hiatus in hospital in Mexico (petra-x) I thought this might interest somebody (besides me).

This is a new entry in my favourite book company (Daedalus) from my favourite plant publishing company (Firefly). It has been reduced from $49.95 to $14.98.
The Plant Finder: The Right Plants for Every Garden
http://www.daedalusbooks.com/Products...


message 34: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly Comeau (kimberlykcomeau) | 299 comments Miriam, you've given me hope. Fewer trumpet vines equals a heartening future. I'll keep digging, cutting and deflowering.


message 35: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Kimberly, I just kept digging them up. I have tried to avoid using herbicides, but now that my knees are so bad I may have to start using them. But many books say the only way to get rid of really aggressive plants like trumpet vine is to use herbicides, especially in the fall when the plant is storing food in its roots.


message 36: by Cheryl S. (new)

Cheryl S. | 3501 comments Miriam wrote: "Kimberly, I just kept digging them up. I have tried to avoid using herbicides, but now that my knees are so bad I may have to start using them. But many books say the only way to get rid of really ..."

I have one too growing on an old stepladder in the corner of my garden. I have attempted to dig it out twice. The latest thing I heard to try is cutting it back as far as possible and then coating all the cut ends with fingernail polish remover. I'm ready to try almost anything.


message 37: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Good luck Cheryl. They are a bear. The roots go all over!


message 38: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly Comeau (kimberlykcomeau) | 299 comments Cheryl, I have fingernail polish remover. I'll try it but I'm skeptical. It's hard to believe that such a small amount of polish remover will kill such a monstrous root. If it works, you'll hear a whooping shout coming from the direction of Virginia. Only two days into Spring, the real battle's yet to begin.

Miriam, I've avoided herbicides for years, and after reading Teaming with Microbes, I'm thankful I have. That book provides the sceince behind currently recommended gardening practices.


message 39: by Cheryl S. (new)

Cheryl S. | 3501 comments Kimberly wrote: "Cheryl, I have fingernail polish remover. I'll try it but I'm skeptical. It's hard to believe that such a small amount of polish remover will kill such a monstrous root. If it works, you'll hear..."

I haven't tried the polish remover either, but plan to this spring. I have some other vine type of thing that's trying to takeover my big bridalwreath bush and I'm going to try it on that too.


message 40: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly Comeau (kimberlykcomeau) | 299 comments Cheryl, keep us updated on your success. I will, too. I love discovering hints that work.


message 41: by Cheryl S. (new)

Cheryl S. | 3501 comments Kimberly wrote: "Cheryl, keep us updated on your success. I will, too. I love discovering hints that work."

Will do!


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