Relocating to a new climate can be a shock to many, especially those who love their gardens. If I ever moved to the north, dealing with ice and snow would be difficult, at best, and the shorter growing seasons would definitely present a challenge. I’m used to being able to get fresh, locally grown produce every week at a local farmer’s market or fruit and vegetable stand. If you are a gardener relocating to New Orleans, you will be both pleased and amazed at the variety you can grow here in southeastern Louisiana.
Since our winters are fairly mild, there is a year round growing season in the New Orleans area. Interested in planting a vegetable garden? The LSU Agricultural Center has a great guide to Louisiana vegetable gardens, with a planting schedule to keep you in fresh produce each and every month. Traditional southern ingredients such as okra, tomatoes, peppers and more are perfectly suited to grow in the garden or even in containers.
The region also provides a great environment for citrus trees, evidenced by the many citrus farms in Plaquemines Parish, on the West Bank of New Orleans. Limes, lemons, oranges and satsumas are right at home, with little risk of freeze damage most winters. I love my orange and lemon trees in my backyard and check them regularly to be sure I get the freshest fruit from them. Fig trees also grow quite well in New Orleans and some of my fondest memories are of picking figs in my grandmother’s backyard for her to make preserves from. Yum!
If you prefer flowers to vegetable gardening, the vast variety of native and tropical plants that flourish in southeast Louisiana is incredible. Camellias to brighten up the winter garden, hibiscus that grow taller than a single story home in just a few weeks, iris plants with buds almost year round and japanese magnolias that bloom before spring has sprung are just a few of the wonderful opportunities for growing flowers or flowering trees in New Orleans. The show that the azaleas put on in front gardens throughout the area each spring is awesome and makes the homes look so colorful and inviting.
A gentle reminder to be aware that a relocation from a colder zone will mean leaving some of your garden favorites behind. Our sub tropical climate and high summer temperatures in southern Louisiana are just too much for many delicate northern flowers to handle. Have fun and enjoy your new gardening opportunities in the Crescent City!
More Louisiana gardening resources:
- Louisiana Native Plant Society
- LSU Agricultural Center
- Dan Gill’s Blog – Noted Louisiana Horticulturist and author of one of my favorite books on Louisiana gardening