I lived in the Midwest for over twenty years running, in a number of different places. There were minor differences from place to place but overall things were similar and what you knew in one spot applied to the others.
When I moved to the Bay last year I suffered some major culture shock — but I’m not talking about social culture shock. I’m talking about garden cultivation!
In the Midwest, plants tend to all follow similar needs and patterns. The pre-printed information on a plant or seed packet was rarely ever 100% accurate but sort of generally close. Out here, you may find something labeled “drought-tolerant” and “full sun” that requires 23 hours of shade a day and daily watering. But I don’t think it’s the labeler’s fault. We’ve got such crazy microclimates around the Bay that a plant that’s full sun in one spot can require full shade a mile away.
So I muddle through. I feel like I’m just starting out again, even though I’ve been a container gardener for nearly twenty years now. I was “that” person, the one everyone gave their dying plants to save. And my indoor plants are doing just fine. But man, everything I’ve put out in the yard to try to add a little groundcover to our bare patch of hardpan has turned brown. Well, almost everything. There’s a shady corner where the moss and the blue stars seem to thrive. Even the aloe is ailing and that prefers the climate here to that of the Midwest!