The feeling that I first had when I started gardening in Florida was “how alien!”. I think that any gardener that has moved to a completely different climate has a similar thought go through their head. Once the original shock subsides, there are two main options: embrace the new plant palette, or desperately cling to the flowers and foods you’re already familiar with.
I hate to admit it, but despite my appreciation of native plants, vigor at removing invasive plants, and admiration for the tropical varieties flourishing outside my windows, I resisted. I tried to make some of my favorites work in an area that is known for its intense sun and humidity. The sunlight was cruel, and shriveled up delicate seedlings that were deeply watered each morning. Some seeds didn’t germinate at all, for unknown reasons. I had to learn those things myself.
Another change for me was container gardening in the deep south, since I had mostly worked in the ground before. The gated community where we had our rented house had been planned by landscape architects, and a garden plot in the backyard required a permit. Still, those architects did pick out some flowering trees that were gorgeous.
I’m about to leave Florida, and I think that the changes and challenges I faced on my first major move are making me curious about what is in store for me in the Pacific NW!