Zone envy, zone denial, the real skinny on zones, I am in the zone……

OK, here we go. I started blogging by bitching about zones over a year ago. My friend Kathy Purdy has put together a great article on the different zone maps that are out there, how they came to be, and why you may or may not pay attention.

She discusses three different maps:the oft referred to USDA Zone map, the one from the Arnold Arboretum and the one from Sunset magazine.Click here to read the article. I was totally surprised when she said the most accurate was the Sunset map. Unfortunately, the Sunset map creates a lot of confusion here in our area, particularly for newcomers, but not this Newcomer. One of the local newspaper writers bandied us around as a Zone 2, using the Sunset magazine designation, without identifying it as such…..you should have heard the uproar at the local nurseries. The garden centers/nurseries and the Extension office use the USDA zone classification system. That makes us a Zone 6. Recently I read that the updated USDA chart has us moved to zone 7.

Here’s my take on the whole deal and you can take it or leave it. I don’t plant expensive plants that can’t take a Zone 5 winter. So, you won’t see me shelling out hundreds of dollars for something that can’t go to ZERO or 10 below. Like, an expensive shade tree or conifer. I was here the winter of 1990 and 1991 when it was 20 below for two weeks and it was miserable. The nursery industry took a beating. So did home gardeners. Meanwhile, we have folks prancing around about their hardy camellias…….I want to hear how they wintered over this year……call me. You know who you are.