Mary Kay Woodworth’s Comments on Hardiness Zones
For the cautious and new gardener, I stick with 7b, but also suggest to try what you will. At some point gardeners will have that “come to Jesus” moment and acknowledge that pushing the envelope is great fun, but a beloved “whatever plant” just might not make it.
I think that the best advice is to stick to reading/listening/buying information from garden “experts” who are specific to the southeast–not including Florida.
I also tell my friends that yes, there are rare exceptions, called microclimates. A great example is my Mom’s 8-year old lavender lantana that comes back year after year. It’s not supposed to be cold hardy! I can’t explain why, maybe good will on her part! But it does occur.
Most importantly, I tell people that if they stick to plants that show a USDA zone from 7-8, amending the soil makes a tremendous difference, and allows more chance for success. Depending on the weather, they probably can’t miss if they stay in that range.
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