Friday, May 7, 2010

Palate Cleanser for you, bitter taste in the mouth for me...

Dahlia imperialis

It is just so wrong that it's so hard to grow Dahlias here in Miami. So very, very wrong. This is my official garden rant. I live in Zone 11, basically the inner circle of Dante's Inferno for all intents and purposes. I grow things like orchids and African violets inside because I have just given up growing things outside a climate-controlled environment here in Miami. This past winter all the tropicals  I'd planted (and for which I had little love) in my yard died because of the unexpectedly hard winter, which was the coldest winter in Miami in memory. Normally winter lasts about twenty minutes down here. But this was weeks of cold and several brutal freezes. I lost a thirty foot tall Pandanus (for which, admittedly, I bore no love) and all my fancy bananas and many birds of paradise. My Lignum vitae survived and will be moving with me to my new house.

But why do I want to grow all the things I can't grow in my zone? Is it the classic  "grass is greener" on the other side of 'Zone Hotter than Hell and Wetter than a Lake' scenario? I want Dahlias and Clematis and Delphinia and Aquilegias and all manner of things Zone 7-8. It's just not fair. I come from a family of gardeners and I'm a quitter at this point, basically. I've tried and tried and really love growing things. But I hate watching them die in driving rains, sweltering sun and from pests the size of badgers that come out at night and chew things down to their roots.

Sorry to be childish but when I got this image by email late last night I was just so very, very bummed. I'd love to grow this dahlia. Sigh. Yes, it's right up there with oil spills, terrorism, the Catholic church and such. Hmmmm. Sometimes the niggling things of the everyday world are right up there with big issues, aren't they?

Edited to add: Before Thelma Lee tells me I'm USDA Zone 10, I'm Heat Zone's Zone 11, and yeah, they have a way better handle on what it's like down here where the dew point doesn't drop below about 80 F in the summer.

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