Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association


October, 2003
Regional Report


Palms Won't Grow Here and Other Myths
Palms Won't Grow Here and Other Myths: Warm-Climate Plants for Cooler Areas, by David A. Franko (Timber Press, 2003; $27.95) is simultaneously exciting and frustrating. There is much interest among gardeners who want to grow unsuitable plants, such as palms, bananas, and agapanthus, in places where freezing weather and snow prevail during the winter. This book encourages people to try to grow these things, and offers some hints on how to experiment with them. It also reports a few successes where people have pushed the proverbial envelope or where plants have proven themselves surprisingly hardy.

But at the same time it mentions many plants that seem to tolerate the cold only to about zone 6, or discusses plants that grow as "hardy dieback perennials" rather than in the form of a tree or shrub as they would be in their warmer native climate. I think this explains why the title specifies "cooler" areas rather than claiming out and out "cold areas." So, read it and dream, but don't get your hopes up too high. Sadly, zone envy is still alive and well.

Favorite or New Plant

PHS Gold Medal Awards 2004
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) announces the 2004 Gold Medal Winners: Magnolia 'Daybreak' (zones 5 to 8), Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki' (zones 6 to 9), and Sarcocca hookeriana var. humilis (zones 5 to 8).

Each year the PHS identifies a new group of plants deemed worthy of this prestigious award. Read about the winners as well as the selection process at the PHS Web site. Information about the upcoming 2004 Philadelphia Flower Show is now there as well. Visit:


Today's site banner is by Marilyn and is called "Salvia regla 'Royal'"