I'm moving from the middle of the corn belt and leaving my beloved garden
for the 6000 ft alt. rocky side of a mountain near Lake Tahoe. Shall I
start crying now, or can anyone give me any tips on gardening here. What
I've found so far indicates that I might as well forget my English cottage
garden and my heirloom tomatoes...
Peg, who will soon be cultivating a tumbleweed
Hi Peggy, the high Sierra climate you're talking about will have a short
growing season, but lots of possibilities for interesting conifers - dwarf
alberta spruce, alpine firs, etc. It also will be ideal for many kinds of
hardy perennials - columbines, delphiniums, peonies, penstemons, etc.- and
lots of rock garden plants that languish in warmer climates - aubrietas,
saxifrages, alyssums, moss phloxes, etc. Also, some gorgeous annuals that
are hard to grow elsewhere where the nights are too warm will do well there.
Iceland poppies will bloom all summer, pansies, calendula, larkspurs,
shirley poppies, california poppies, etc. Most of this display will be
crammed between June 1st and Sept. 15th, but lots of folks don't have the
gorgeous mountain and lake scenery to look at in the dull of winter either.
It can't be that bad, can it? First I would like to recommend that
you pick up the Sunset Western Garden Book. A great tool for those
living in the Western U.S. Your area, I believe is sunset zone 10,
and I see no reason why you can't grow plants that if nothing else
will give a Cottage Garden effect. If nothing less, see if there is a
garden society there or in Carson City, a great way to network and
learn about your area.
I'm envious because, looking at some of the zone 10 plants you can
plant, I see Lilacs on the list. Something I can not grow in the
lower desert valleys of Arizona. It looks like there is a host of
wonderful perennials you can grow. Rocky Mountain Columbines,
Bluebells of Scotland (Campanula rotundifolia), some wonderful
Some wonderful foliage plants. Blue Spruce - now I'm real jealous ;)
Do pick up the wonderful Sunset Western Gardener book. It opens up a
world of opportunities for you. Listing all the plants you can grow
in your Sunset Zone 10.
I can't help you much with gardening tips up there, but I just had to say
"Hi" and let you know that we did the opposite of you. We moved from the
Sierras to the midwest. I lived all my life in California and don't miss it
much. But the 2 years we lived in the Sierras were the most beautiful place
we ever lived. We would got snow in the winter, but it would quickly melt
unless you're in a shady canyon.
I think I prefer Nebraska, though. No crowds, no road rage, and I can leave
my doors unlocked at night.
I hope you like living in the Sierras, and hopefully you're not in a canyon
that prevents you from having long summer days. Where we lived, by 2:00pm
in summer, we were in the shade created by the mountains around us, making
gardening very challenging.
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