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Tropical Texas Garden? - Halogengirlie - 01-04-2007

I recently moved to Dallas Texas and I am looking to establish my first garden. I moved from Orange County California and would like to establish a garden here that has a similar tropical feel to the gardens I experienced there. My concern is that I can get excellent information on a plants' Cold Hardiness zone... but many catalogues do not give heat zone information.

I am in heat zone 9 and cold hardiness zone 7. My yard gets full sun from the morning till about 3:00 PM... after that time the majority of my small yard is shaded by the house. I do not know the alkalinity of the soil, but it is heavy clay which I am now beginning to amend with compost. I intend to do a portion of the yard with raised borders to improve drainage.

Does anyone have any recommendations for perennial plants that would give a tropical feel and survive in my Texas conditions?

Thank You!

Re: Tropical Texas Garden? - KimmSr - 02-05-2007

As a general rule of thumb soils west of the Mississippi tend to be alkaline, but contact your local office of the Texas A & M USDA Cooperative Extension Service, about a soil test for base nutrient and soil pH levels. All soils usually need lots of organic matter added as well and yours will be helped a lot with lots of organic matter.
Few nurseries use the Heat Zone Index because it did not come from the USDA, the same reason few nurseries use Sunsets zones.