Saturday, March 26, 2011

Where Am I Going?

To Fort Mill, South Carolina, in York County. Here is a little excerpt from the Wikipedia description of the areas yearly temperatures.

York County has a humid subtropical climate, characterized by hot, humid summers and cool winters. Precipitation does not vary greatly between seasons. July is the hottest month, with an average high temperature of 90 °F (32 °C) and an average low temperature of 70 °F (21 °C).[3] The coldest month of the year is January, when the average high temperature is only 52 °F (11 °C) and the average low temperature bottoms out at 32 °F (0 °C).[3] The warmest temperature ever recorded in Rock Hill, the county's largest city, city is 106 °F (42 °C), on August 21, 1985,[4] and the coldest temperature ever recorded in Rock Hill is -4 °F (-20 °C), on January 21, 1983.

So as it seems to me, it will be much warmer there, year 'round. For those of you who know my love of the outdoors and growing green things, this is a bonus for sure. 
My morning was spent researching all I could about all the new and exciting plants I can grow in York County, which is a zone 7 according to the USDA hardiness zone chart, which you can look at here.
Here are a few of the ones I am the most excited about; things I wouldn't dream of growing in a zone 5!
First off - bananas, mostly ornamental, but beautiful none the less. They have new varieties with purple leaves called 'blood' bananas or 'red' bananas that you can grow up in a zone 5, but you have to bring them in every year. Who has space to bring in a 4-6 ft tree every winter? Not me.
These can stay out year round in a zone 7, wahhoo!
regular banana tree

Next is the beautiful Mountain Laurel, which likes to live in and near the Appalachian Mountains. Some of these flowers are exquisite. They like acidic soil, which I don't think will be a problem, but for now I don't know a whole lot about them. Aren't their flowers lovely though, and they are a small shrub that can grow in part shade. Nice.
Mountain Laurel comes in pinks, whites,
raspberry, wine, and this color.

Another new one for my growing experience is hardy palm trees. There are a handful that will survive in a zone 7, but not all palms will. The one below is one that will survive in our zone and do quite well. Palms, they make it feel so exotic.
Palmetto Palm tree

Lastly, a few of my favorites that I grow in a zone 5, but have to dig up every year. In South Carolina they will winter over fine in the ground, and that makes me want to cry. So wonderful, so carefree! Canna bulbs and Elephant Ears, and another one that was always marginal in zone 5 and would die in bad winters is the Catawba Rhododendrons (fun note, the Catawba river runs thru York County, South Carolina).
Most everything else we have up in the northern growing zones, but I will have to do some more research, because some plants that we grow in a zone 5 become invasive and weed like in a zone 7 (aka ground covers and perennials) because of the lack of a hard winter to keep them in check. Still, it is a fair trade I think. Give up a few ground covers for some beautiful trees and shrubs, I can do it!

And for all my friends who are remaining in a zone 5, don't hate.

Purple (called black) Elephant Ear Plant

'Nova Zembla' Catawba Rhododendrons
Canna plants, love them!


lifeinthevillage said...

ooohhh. . . . i might be hating. (or maybe just really jealous of those elephant ears!!!! and cannas, and palms, and. . . . wow. banana trees!!) seriously.

abbie said...

I agree...Banana trees! That is amazing!!! You will have to send us some!