|Find out what the USDA hardiness zone is for your area.
map which includes Canada and Mexico) The zones are based on
average minimum temperature. Mail-order catalogs should provide a range
of zones for each plant advertised. At nurseries, the plant's label
should contain this information. For example, your city is located
in Zone 5. If the plant is rated for zones 4 - 8, it should survive
the winter in your yard.
|The zones are only approximate--due to geological and
man-made features, actual temperatures at a particular location may be
higher or lower. Summer temperatures are higher in urban areas covered
with pavement because the pavement radiates heat. Temperatures are
cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter near large lakes. In
the summer, the water absorbs and "stores" heat; in the winter, the water
releases heat, moderating the local temperature.
|Similarly, geological and man-made features of your yard
create small-scale variations in climate. The south and west sides
of the yard are probably warmer than the north and east sides. Temperatures
will be higher next to a brick patio or asphalt driveway. Organic
mulches (bark, wood chips, straw) insulate the ground, keeping it warmer
in the winter and cooler in the summer. In the right spot, you may be able
to grow plants that are not supposed to be hardy in your region.
Also, you can grow "tender" (not able to survive cold weather) perennials
as annual plants; the downside is that you will need to replant every year.