Growing plants and being involved in horticulture since 1980 meant knowing the USDA’s plant hardiness zones so I could jabber to folks knowingly (Ha!) about plant choices for their personal habitat. To make things a little more confusing Sunset Magazine created their own hardiness and planting zones for the western US. Jeez, Sunset!
During my brief tenure at the University of Arizona I learned C. Hart Merriam’s life zone system created in 1896 and I referred to and preferred that system for many years (see photo below) and it did make me sound pretty smart. Then in 1994 along comes David Brown’s Biotic Communities, Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico (it came with a big map!). Some nights that book still comes to bed with me.
So I’m guessing you’ve figured out that I’m more interested in biotic communities than planting zones. If you plant plants native to your biotic community…well, problem solved. Planting made simple by Petey Mesquitey! For more information and discussion on life zones and biotic communities we’ll see you in the Borderlands Biome Bar. Oh, and that was our new pooch Burley adding his 2 cents at the end of this episode.