Among all the catalogs arriving at our homes during the winter season were many from nurseries somewhere in other parts of the country. They really have beautiful photographs in them and are a lot of fun to look at while our own flowers are not in bloom. But beware – some of those plants may not like growing here.
Why is it that we want to grow things that don’t work well here? For those of us reared in another part of the country, it may be the memories of things from our youth. For others who have always lived here, maybe the idea of growing peonies in Tyler is irresistible. Wouldn’t it be neat if you could do it?
If you expect to be a successful gardener, however, it’s very important to grow plants adapted to this region. Be aware of plant hardiness zones and look for their designations in the catalogs. In Smith County the zone line runs diagonally (from Southwest to Northeast) across the county, putting the northern part of the county in Zone 7 and the rest in Zone 8.
So how can you be sure? Enjoy the catalog pictures and then go to a local full-service nursery. Ask the staff if they have the plant you want and whether it will thrive in our East Texas conditions. For extra inspiration, don’t forget to visit the IDEA Garden and Heritage Garden, both located at the southern end of the Tyler Rose Garden (1900 W. Front St.); both are planted with annuals, perennials, shrubs and ground covers that not only work here, they actually love it.
Martin Davis, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service