Warmer weather puts Edmonton gardeners in the (new) zone
'(Gardeners) like to push the envelope in trying to plant things that are on the edge of the survival ratings'
Gardening expert Jim Hole watches green-thumb keeners troll for seeds in the dead of winter.
And why not? Due to climate change, Edmonton gardeners have more choice than ever.
"We're not getting as many severe cold winters so it is a major boom for people who want to try more things," Hole said.
"We used to be a Zone 3A. Now we've moved up to a Zone 4A. Because of that there are more things that we can grow."
The owner of The Enjoy Centre in St. Albert has seen sugar maples, Japanese maples, different varieties of pears, apples, even corn, thrive.
"Now you'd be hard pressed not to find a year — if you plant at the proper time — we don't get a really good corn harvest," said Hole.
"Time has passed, climate is evolving. All we did is just basically applied the same formula and that's what's caused the changes," McKenney said.
What it boils down to growers is more choice.
"That's pretty significant for gardeners. They all like to push the envelope in trying to plant things that are on the edge of the survival ratings for their particular place," said McKenney.
Aaron Webb, assistant grower at Arch Greenhouse, gets questions about growing zones all the time.
"Right now people are eager. There's a general excitement for the upcoming season," he said.
But Webb believes gardeners should temper that spring fever enthusiasm with the knowledge these zones are just guidelines.
"It just means these plants have a greater chance of surviving," said Webb.