Even a few climate zones change the landscape completely. The gardener finds himself surrounded by a different world of flowers unknown and enduring greenery. Despite the temporary chill the flora of Alabama maintained its subtropical resilience, attuned to the fact that temperatures close to freezing are fleeting, but zone 9 is forever.

I was charmed by perpetual azaleas and camellias that adorn sturdy bushes with the enthusiastic bloom of landscaping roses. Unseen gardenias made their presence known by the veil of perfume that surrounds them. Foliage is deep green and shiny, not with the unabashed splurging of tropical plants, but with a high vitality fed by powerful sunshine and generous rainfall.

The higher angle of the sun begets artful sunsets that cast shadows over the camellia bushes and tint the white flowers with peach, magenta and rose. There were violets everywhere, violets and camellias mirroring a romantic imagery of centuries past.

Moss oaks create wide archways over the streets and make you feel as if you're driving through a living creature, huge, soft and accommodating, a creature whose benevolent patience makes you feel protected and at ease. Every branch, every stick is padded with mossy fuzz, an abundant plush that drapes the tree limbs overhead with cushy comfort.

It's warm in Alabama, even at the end of December when winter storms covered the entire North with snow. Heavy downpours drenched the bay on Christmas evening and then settled into a steady summer rain whose soothing sound seeped through the open windows and transported me to another season and another time.

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”; "Letters to Lelia", "Door No. 8", "Fair"; "A Year and A Day"; "The Plant - A Steampunk Story"
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born this way: allyeargarden.com and theweeklygardener.com, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might find it useful in their own gardening practice.