For the first time in my life, I got to plan and plant a garden in a “sub-tropical” zone. Christie’s parents have built a house in Galveston, Texas and we got to install the garden out front. We live in zone 7a and Galveston is zone 9b! What does that mean exactly? That I get to grow plants that thrive in an environment where the temperature never dips below 25 Fahrenheit. My zone dips down to zero Fahrenheit. In October, Christie and I headed down to Galveston to help her parents finish the house and have a little leisure time.
It was fun visiting the garden centers in this part of the country and seeing all of the plants that can be grown there that can’t be grown here. I didn’t really have any rules about the landscaping, but I wanted to get items that can’t be grown here. Here’s the full listing of what we planted: black Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia), Canna ‘Pink Sunburst’, pink Bougainvillea, Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia), Zamia vazquezii, Dietes iridioides, Alocasia ‘Frydek’, Indian Hawthorne, Natal Plum (Carissa macrocarpa), Gardenia, Banana Tree, Duranta, Bottlebrush (Callistemon citrinus ‘Little John’), spicy Jatropha (Jatropha integerrima), Plumbago auriculata, Blue Ginger (Dichorisandra thyrsifolia), Red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana), pink Oleanders (Nerium oleander), dwarf coral Ixora, Yucca, yellow Allamanda bush, Brugmansia.
We did more soil preparation for this garden than I have ever done before. We purchased more than 30 bags of soil, manure and other amendments to mix with the sandy soil that is filled with shells. We wanted to build the flowerbeds up about 8 inches in some areas and about 16 inches in other areas. There was a lot of shovel work, but once the ingredients were mixed and spread, and the retaining wall was in place, the planting was very easy.
I look forward to seeing how the garden matures over the next several years. Hopefully the plants will be happy enough without someone there full-time to tend to them.