It’s time to think about winter plant protection. Last year while in USDA plant hardiness zone 7B, Plano, Texas “Oui” showed you how to build a green house for $142.00. That’s how “Oui” protected our potted plants from a fairly severe Texas winter, http://www.gagasgarden.com/?p=135. Now in Illinois, the plant zone is now USDA Hardiness Zone 5b: -15F to -10F using updated climate data through 2010 and an entirely different ball game. The average frost is between October 11-20, while the last frost occurs between April 11-20. This zone is part of Ecoregion 72j – Southern Illinoian Till Plain. I just discovered that the National Gardening Association has added the coolest tool ever to their site, a USDA Hardiness Zone Finder! It will tell you your plant hardiness zone, let you view your regional report, public gardens in your zip code, plants for your zone, and events going on within your zone just by entering your zip code and clicking a button. Just visit http://www.garden.org/zipzone/ . Regarding our first strategy for the cooler plant zone is that “Oui” built a very rugged plant table to support plants to be brought into the house such as the Asian Jasmine, the Desert Rose, a potted miniature rose called Valeria and some succulents. “Oui” plan on constructing another greenhouse in the spring but in the meantime the new red barn, garage and plant table inside will have to do to protect our potted plants this winter. If you need assistance with plant protection please refer to our complete guide to a Do-It-Yourself Greenhouse with the entire materials list from last year. It really worked for us folks in Texas and only cost $142.00.
In Texas much more of a desert climate I never saw the Desert Rose bloom and for the life of me I never saw any thing like how glorious it bloomed in Illinois. As you can see Oui have added adorable critters to watch over the plant table; a bird that hears no evil, a turtle that speaks no evil, a frog that sees no evil all being led by a conductor, an ant! He keeps them in line. The next posts will be planning the rose garden for the spring. We will start laying it out and planning all the varieties to plant, and why we will be choosing them. I will write about it and not take so long to keep you posted.