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USDA Hardiness Planting Zones

To determine if a plant is sufficiently cold-hardy, the USDA created numbered zones indicating winter low temperatures; the lower the zone number the colder the winter.

  • If the coldest winter temperature expected in your area is -15°F (zone 5) then any plants rated zones 3-5 will survive the winter temperatures in your area.
  • If you live in very warm winter areas (zones 9-11) plants with zones 3-4 ratings are not recommended. The lack of freezing winter temperatures do not provide a time for winter dormancy (rest).

Fields of Flowers in the Virginia Mountains

a field of poppies

Jim and Susan McDowell, have created an incredibly beautiful place in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, one of the most historic and magnificently scenic regions in America.

They've restored a colonial era manor house, turned it into an antique business, and also planted wildflower meadows all over their beautiful acreage.

Jim was kind enough to send us these incredible views of their fields of Red Poppies with the beautiful Blue Ridge in the background. This is the area made famous by Virginia's mountaintop "Skyline Drive" which leads south toward the Great Smoky Mountains, where it changes its name to "The Blue Ridge Parkway." The lower photo is a spring bloom of Dame's Rocket in another nearby area on the property.

Soon after sending these pictures, Jim visited us in Vermont and we talked about his wildlfower planting plans. As you can see, his meadow plantings are super successful.

dame's rocket

You can visit the McDowells and their beautiful business called Valley of Virginia Wildflowers and Country Antiques this summer. You'll find them just off I-81, the beautiful interstate that runs the length of the Shenandoah, and is quite a scenic drive itself. Take Exit 200 between Lexington and Staunton.

Photo Notes: The top photo is just one of Jim and Susan's red poppy fields. The majestic Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia rise in the background.

The lower photo is a spring bloom of lavender Dame's Rocket.

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