Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter food, winter color

After gardening for 11 years in Indiana, I am still surprised at what is possible in the Virginia garden, even after 10 years of being here! Of course, we are two USDA zones south from Indiana (map courtesy of the US Arboretum). And, of course, more was possible in Indiana than I realized when I lived there (if Elliot Coleman can grow winter greens in Maine….!) However, to have salad greens, cooking greens and nasturtiums grown outside of a cold frame in December is quite a revelation (see quickie entry on Dec. 9 on my Thanksgiving salad). Another revelation to me is the color that lingers in the garden into December. Here are some photos of some colorful leaves and berries that are still in my garden on December 9 (Asian maple, American beautyberry, strawberry and bucket pond, eucalyptus).

The USDA map showed the section of Indiana in which we lived in pale blue, which is Zone 5A. In Virginia we live in the light pink Zone 7a. What a difference two zones make! Happy gardening!


Anita said...

I actually recognize two of the plants, and a sort-of on one more. There is hope for me yet!

The map is new to me, but it makes perfect sense that something like that exists.

Judy Thomas said...

The USDA zone map is essential for gardeners. You can cross-reference it with plant hardiness descriptions to see what is possible to grow in your zone, what will not last over the winter and what is marginal with winter protection. It has saved me from some bad plant choices!

How It Grows said...

That's a beautiful Japanese maple!

peter said...

if you are looking for more detailed information on USDA plant hardiness zones, there is an interactive USDA plant hardiness zone map at http://www.plantmaps.com/usda_hardiness_zone_map.php which will allow you to locate your USDA zone based on zipcode or city.