So what does all this mean to the gardener? Mild Winters mean insects overwinter readily and the rain encourages fungal diseases, moss and algae. Cooler Summers mean late-ripening of tomatoes and limited success of other heat loving plants. Plants that would normally be considered hardy in our zones (6-9) don't always succeed. Our lack of hot summers to ripen new growth on shrubs can result in Winter die-back, and our mild Winters trick plants into thinking Spring is here, when indeed it is not. Zone 7 in the Pacific Northwest is nothing like zone 7 in the Eastern United States, and our zone 9 nothing like Texas or Florida. Zones indicate nothing about humidity, summertime heat, or even how long the growing season is.
Plants described as "difficult" are sometimes the very ones that do best in our area, while "easy" ones do poorly. I have experienced this myself with many annuals. The best advice I can give when it comes to choosing new plants for your garden is to buy from local nurseries, which tend to offer plants that do well in the area you live. I have found my local library to have a good selection of gardening books, many focused on the Pacific Northwest. Comments always welcome and appreciated. Happy Gardening!
|Tulip Purple Flag|
|Interesting new growth on Platycodon (Balloon Flower)|