Saturday, September 09, 2006
Hisbiscus (Hibisci?) in Chacala
I spent about five years in my old garden in Zone 5 trying to grow various forms of hibiscus plants. We usually had some 15F below zero nights, and I wasn't really successful, except with one hardy variety in the Malva family (? Rose Mallow). I can't remember what the name was, and I only brought a couple of gardening books with me to Mexico (a book on Tropicals and another on Succulents/Cacti).
In those Zone 5 days, late September or early October of each year, depending on when the full moon was due (because the first frost was generally near the full moon day), I would cover tomatoes, peppers and other tender veggies. And then start moving some tropicals into my unheated, free-standing garage (my plant garage) and hope for the best. I had palms, bouganvilleas, hibiscus, ginger, and a bunch of other Zone 10-11 plants. But few of them made it through four or five months of freezing temparatures.
My best gardening friend ever, Michael Loundagin, who lives in my old neighborhood, makes a plastic tent in one-half of his garage for his tender plants. Then, when it gets below about 35F (I think) he turns on a small electric heater to keep tropicals alive in Zone 5. At the time, he called his garden plan one of "Zonal Denial". He has a lovely garden, and I miss him. And I miss helping him ready his garden for garden tours. He is also a wonderful writer, and I am trying to get him to start a blog. Are you reading this Michael?
Instead of messing around in the cold, snow, ice, and sleet, I moved to Mexico. And I am so glad. I can just snip off a hibiscus twig, and stick it in the dirt, and in a couple of months I have a new plant. Of course, if it's not the rainy season, I actually have to water the little twig, but that's not such a big deal.