How to Adjust to a New Gardening Climate
Photo by Angela West
Gardeners get to exercise their brains by solving problems like plant spacing, sun exposure or season change. This can be even more challenging when moving from one gardening zone to another or from one climate to the complete opposite. Gardener Barbara Reisinger faced this challenge when she moved her garden from dry and hot Texas to moderately cool Washington state. Learn how she adjusted her gardening habits to suit her new backyard.
Get to know your surroundings. When Reisinger moved from Texas, she brought native plants as reminders from home. But they didn't take to the drastic change in climate, so she abandoned that idea and searched for answers in her local community. She first started by joining a garden club and has since gotten involved in several gardening organizations.
Her gardening clubs provide her with information about the plants that are hardy to the area, are low maintenance, and have year-round color. This gave her the opportunity to begin experimenting with different types of plants that are known to perform well in her adopted climate.
Work with what you've got. Unless you move into a perfectly landscaped home, it can be tough to figure out where to get started outdoors. Reisinger has very limited space in her yard, so she created several distinct garden "rooms." Breaking up the space into different rooms helps create the illusion of a bigger yard. It also makes it easier to work out problems one section at a time.
Fill a hole temporarily with a sculptural element. Whenever there's a void in the landscape that isn't ready to be planted, add a sculptural element or piece of garden art. A piece of driftwood, an interesting figure in rusty metal or a statue of St. Fiacre, the patron saint of gardeners, can fill an empty space until you figure out what to do with it. A light-colored container can brighten up a dark corner that's inhospitable for growing plants.
Be patient. It takes at least a year to become familiar with the seasonal changes in your new garden. As you experience the garden evolving throughout spring, summer, fall and winter, you'll get a better understanding as to what plants grow better than others and what their needs are, among other things.