Saturday, January 26, 2013

Rethinking Your Garden



Go to the new USDA Zone Map and you will find a fabulous post-climate change site that shows you the country, the region,
the state, etc. and basically, has officially recognized that Yes! 
Things are getting warmer. 

We East End of Long Islanders are now on the record as Zone 7a.  Those west of us closer to Manhattan are Zone 7B. 
WOW – that’s almost Zone 8, where you can grow Agapanthus and all sorts of other things formerly restricted to California and other perceived warmer places.

Interestingly, note that the data  used to compile this newly sanctioned map was complete as of 2005.  Now, we all know that since 2005 it has become increasingly warmer…so this tidbit of officially compiled information is especially useful when…


January and February are definitely the most delicious time to rhapsodize about Your Garden’s Immediate Future and to bury yourself in the astonishing array of mail order plant catalogues. 
Now, that it is decreed I am a Zone 7a, at least, garden…I will get riskier with that, i.e. $18 Farfugium ‘Kaimon Dake’ and that $22 woodland ginger
‘Dancing Crane’ (both from Plant Delights).
There are many great catalogues, which is why I was so dismayed to
read in the Southampton Press that
Andrew Messinger, a garden writer colleague and a devoted East End
gardener, was waxing  persuasively and endlessy about
As long ago as my book DIRT was published, I had already decided that the WWF catalogue was classic and nice but  “be wary as they are extremely computer driven and very expensive.”  My view has not changed, but also feel moved to add to my misgivings, that in my experience, they ship rather puny little plants.
Although once in a while, they do have things before anyone else.

The very best catalogues –sad but true – have no color pictures…
but what they offer and what you get are top-notch.
I wholeheartedly recommend :
Forest Farm  of Oregon – extensive list + great descriptions + shipping is expensive, but you get full-fledged plants and small thriving trees.
Broken Arrow Nursery of Connecticut – the crème de la crème of specimen gardening.
Niche Gardens of North Carolina – wonderful selection of mostly American plants and they ship in big pots

While these terrific catalogues are a compendium of
full-color pictures:
Rare Find Nursery of New Jersey – lives up to its name.
Klehm’s Song Sparrow of Wisconsin – they specialize in peonies but have extremely choice offerings otherwise.
And the irrepressible aforementioned Plant Delights,
also of North Carolina.

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