This blows my mind. The climate guys are about to change the climate zone in which I’ve lived my entire life. I’ll be an eight instead of a seven. I now live in the tropics!
The guide, last updated in 1990, shows where various plant species can be expected to thrive. A revision is expected sometime this year, and while the agency hasn’t released details, horticulturalists and experts who have helped with the revision expect the new map to extend plants’ northern ranges and paint a sharp picture of the continent’s gradual warming over the past few decades.
The new version will have a wide audience: the National Gardening Association estimates 82 million U.S. households do some form of gardening, a number expected to increase as more Americans plant vegetable gardens to cut food costs.
“Anyone involved with gardening, especially with perennials, uses the map to pick the right plants for their location,” says NGA horticulturist Charlie Nardozzi. “Shifting hardiness zones are a very tangible result of climate change, and people will see that change happening where they live over a short period of time.”
Reclassifying a gardener’s yard into a warmer area opens new options for planting flowers and shrubs that would probably not have survived local winters in the 1970s or 1980s. And the visual impact of a map, with inevitable comparisons to the 1990 version, is likely to make even non-gardeners ask what it means to live in zone 8 instead of 7.
To all the naysayers who don’t believe in global warming, I have some weak evidence. Last fall, I left a lonely begonia out of the greenhouse. Not only did it survive, it came back more beautiful than ever.
Local climatologist Charlie Wax says this anomaly is simply a predictable weather pattern which repeats itself every 40 years or so. We shall see. In the meantime, I’m getting my AC checked to make sure it’s operating efficiently before summer sets in.