I must live under a rock. Although I've heard others reference a "new" USDA hardiness zone map, I assumed they were referring to one released a couple of years ago. In that release I was still zone 6a. So now, living just south of Hartford, I'm apparently zone 6b. As a confessed zone pusher I'm not really all that surprised. When I moved into my current home 17 years ago, I routinely experienced below zero temperatures on a handful of nights each winter. It's been years since it's gotten that cold here-single digits are now the handful of lows.
Since 2005 Musa basjoo has been hardy in the ground in my patio garden. For the first couple of years I winter protected it with a wire cage stuffed with shredded leaves until it started turning a grove. Now it's on it's own, playing nicely with others and doing just fine.
Two years ago I planted a Leycesteria formosa 'Golden Lanterns' (zone 7) just off the patio that is also getting quite large and thriving. I suspect my patio gardens are in a zone 7 microclimate created by the south facing garage wall and patio stone. Aucuba must have missed the memo from the folks at USDA though. Despite spring planting and no winter sun, it's been a dud. Maybe in a few years I'll be zone 7 and can try again. Until then it's off to find some hardy palm trees!
Nothing like pusing your zone... That Leycesteria is beautiful!ReplyDelete
Hardly any dieback this winter so it's taking over. A few years ago, local nurseries were selling this as zone 5. That didn't last.Delete
The temperature zone maps are helpful but only a start. I find that hardiness has a lot to do with moisture over the winter, or lack of it, and sunny wind patterns at critical times during winter. Temps are just part of the story.ReplyDelete
So we experiment (and your Golden Lanterns are well worth it!)
Exactly, Laurrie. Many plants that are are hardy in zone 6 don't make it due to wet winter conditions. For plants like that I look for a dry garden area or a bit of a slope. I also grow Crepe Myrtle in two areas of my garden and it is completely hardy. It's fun to experiment.Delete
I use the trial and error method in gardening....but within limits. No Musa basjoo here in Ontario. While my Vitex survives each winter well I have not had a redbud or a Cornus kousa perform for more than the initial year. It's a mystery to me!ReplyDelete
It is true that we might have several microclimates in our gardens. It is winter wind that is the big challenge for me. Where my roses are sheltered a bit, they do much better.ReplyDelete