Zone Envy - admit it, you've felt it too!
Photo by Melody

Zone Envy - admit it, you've felt it too!

By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)January 30, 2011
bookmark

My friend Doss, in California, wishes she could naturalize crocuses - she can't. It doesn't ever get cold enough. And she has to replant new pre-chilled tulips every year. I wish I could find truly cold-hardy gladiolus, or palm trees, or canna lilies that didn't need frost protection. (I planted those "frost-hardy" gladiolus one fall. They were beautiful the following spring. But they didn't come back. Neither did those exciting crocosmia!)

Gardening picture
(Editor's Note:  This article was originally published on  January 23, 2008. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to promptly respond to new questions or comments.)
 
I want gladiolus - that can stay in the ground year round. And I want an orange tree -Image in my own backyard. While I'm making a wishlist, I'll add banana and avocado trees, and canna lilies too! You see, I live in zone 6, Massachusetts. I wear long underwear more than half of the year. I'm always cold. Some people think that winter in New England, or any temperate zone, is all red cardinals against white snow, children happily skating on frozen ponds (dangerous) and sledding down snowy hills, evergreen trees getting sparkling Imagefrosting from the sky, and the view from the cozy old farm house across the snowy fields. I believe much of America's view of winter was shaped by Robert Frost. "Whose woods these are I think I know, his house is in the village though. He will not mind my stopping here to watch his woods fill up with snow." Quaint, picturesque, attractive snow.

Well, let me be the first person to tell you, in urban and suburban areas, snow stays white for about five minutes. After those lovely first five minutes, it turns grey. We have slush, freezing rain, sleet, frozen ice pellets, hail, frozen precipitate, and all kinds of other things that belong in a frozen drink with a colorful paper umbrella, not on my windshield while I'm driving! Every time we dig our cars out, a snow plow comes by to plow us back in. In fact, I believe the entire North-East corridor suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder. As of December 20, 2007, Imagein the Boston area, we had had three major snowstorms, it had already snowed more than it did all the previous winter, and technically, it was still autumn! I know I am suffering from a bad case of that terribly serious affliction known to gardeners the world around as ZONE ENVY.

My cure for this dreaded malady is to set out for the Caribbean as frequently as time and budget allow, and to study carefully those spring catalogs that start arriving about now. So far, I've gotten one from Park Seed, one from Bluestone Perennials, and I know more will follow. Doss (in California) and I compare notes frequently, and we are each shocked at the others reply. She'll ask me how often I water my daylilies, and be stunned when I say "you have to water dayliles out there?" I'll tell her I bought a lily at a big box store but I don't know if it's a canna or a calla and she'll eagerly wait for pictures of its progress (nothing special, I can tell you). I peruse my catalogs at night after my husband hasImage fallen into exhausted sleep (from all the snow shoveling). I long for the water features with lotus and papyrus, and I lust after year-round bougainvillea (left), passion flowers and datura. I dream of fields of anemones - only some anemones are sometimes hardy in zone 6, but so far I haven't found them. The other stuff will have will have to wait until I win the lottery and buy a greenhouse.
Image
Still, peering more closely at my catalog, I notice flowers that I can grow that Doss cannot! Ha! My beautiful Marie Antoinette tulips, for one (right). But there's more. How about this polyanthus primrose, I could grow it from seed. And potentillas - I just love potentillas. She can't grow most of them. Look, all theseImage viburnums live in zones 3 - 8. Forsythia, too, and pussywillow! What's spring without forsythia and pussywillow?

Funny thing is, I've visited dry places, places where the air seems to suck all the moisture out of your skin, places where cactuses and agaves and aloes grow. They're nice, but that's not what I really want. Most of them are prickly, for one thing, and as far as I can tell, they don't smell good.

I think I'm arriving at a crazy solution here. I can't move; my whole family is here in Boston, and all my doctors, too. And I like being able to grow those plants that enjoy their winters. I'll just have to move to a 85° tropical island in New England. (I told you I was nuts!) In the back yard, in the summer, I already have elephant ears from a DG friend. Those give the back of the house a lush feeling. Then I drag out all my house plants and lie down in a hammock and listen to The Beach Boys. Now, don't be telling me about all the bamboos and palms that can be grown in zone 6, because I don't want to hear about it. I don't want a zone 6 imitation tropical garden, I want a year-round natural dry summer heat that I can turn on whenever I want. I think the best plan would be to keep a normal zone 6 garden along the street, with columbine, balloon flowers, coneflowers and rhododendrons; the ordinary zone 6 stuff. When I open the patio doors to the back, however, the warm tropical breezes and the exotic fragrances and scents of my zone 9 or even 10 or 11 garden would pour in.

Here's the clincher - even when the weather outside is frightful, even when I can't get my car shoveled out of the driveway, even when I'm stuck in the house for days, I could go to the verdant paradise outside my back door whenever I wanted. I'm still working out the details of the technology involved. But doesn't it sound like a good idea? Think of the marketing possibilities - no, it's just for us, my DG friends and me.



Many thanks to the following Davesgarden subscribers:
averybird
bebop2
Floridian
palmbob



  About Carrie Lamont  
Carrie LamontCarrie clicks on EVERY link. She has two beautiful daughters, and has been married for thirteen delightful years. Her husband works for an airline, facilitating Carrie's frequent need to travel. She has a masters degree in Music, and hums to herself as she gazes out wistfully at her full-sun containers from her air-conditioned interior. Carrie just moved from Massachusetts to Texas and is still recovering. Follow her on Google.

  Helpful links  
Share on Facebook Share on Stumbleupon

[ Mail this article | Print this article ]

» Read articles about: Winter Gardening, Tropicals, Cannas, Palms And Cycads, Zone Envy

» Read more articles written by Carrie Lamont

« Check out our past articles!



Discussion about this article:
SubjectTopic StarterRepliesViewsLast Post
LOL jazzy1okc 10 20 Jun 10, 2013 8:21 PM
gladiolus gardengirl86 3 13 Feb 5, 2011 8:35 AM
Canna neverendingblue 1 5 Feb 4, 2011 1:38 PM
Strange Philjarrah 1 9 Feb 1, 2011 9:53 AM
Sounds Like you need a Sun Room! Janina5309 1 7 Jan 31, 2011 7:03 PM
confused about the gladiolus treesmoocher 7 23 Jan 31, 2011 2:49 PM
Try this for Perennial Cannas PlantcrazyZone7 1 16 Jan 31, 2011 9:54 AM
Very Enjoyable! SW_gardener 10 30 Jan 31, 2011 8:02 AM
Lucky for you fairfaxbloomer 1 9 Jan 31, 2011 7:33 AM
Zone envy and soil envy, too. pajaritomt 9 53 Aug 24, 2010 6:18 PM
Forty shades of......... lortay 3 13 Jan 14, 2010 10:27 PM
Zone confusion on my part! binibusybee 3 28 Dec 30, 2009 10:53 PM
Cure for Zone Envy- A Sunroom HoosierGreen 10 43 Dec 30, 2009 10:45 PM
Garden Pleasures, Not Winter Blues! NEILMUIR1 7 43 Dec 29, 2009 6:33 PM
Shameless trade offer MihaelaCureleanu 0 23 Dec 29, 2009 11:08 AM
In that desert marklet 1 8 Dec 29, 2009 12:23 AM
Zone 3 and I have it too rebloomnut 3 30 Dec 27, 2009 7:30 PM
Very Funny WigglyPaw 1 13 Dec 11, 2009 2:56 PM
Hilarious and wonderful! skiekitty 1 22 Jun 3, 2008 10:19 PM
Wonderful!! threegardeners 6 50 Jan 29, 2008 6:22 PM
Great article. EasTexYardboy 1 14 Jan 29, 2008 1:58 AM
Oh this was a great article! CapeCodGardener 13 77 Jan 23, 2008 10:53 PM
You cannot post until you login.


We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2014 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.
 

Hope for America