USDA Hardiness Zone Map
The U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] is about to release a new version of the weather map that divides the country into climate zones.
Just as a pick-up artist identifies himself, I'm an Aries, a gardener shares the salient information, I'm Zone 7b.
At least I do--don't you?
Are we in for a mass identity crisis? In an interview with the USDA, blogger Graham Rice was told the zones would not be changed but instead shown in more detail.
That's as may be. The USDA is, after all, a federal agency, and political pressure could be brought to bear on its good workers.
The temptations are great. Think of the massive population shift if Michigan were suddenly reclassified as warm Zone 9. Droves of naive gardeners yearning to grow tender plants could be fooled into buying Detroit real estate.
What if a Senator wanted to contradict global warming theory by giving his state a colder zone number?
Perhaps it's time to take this zoning power out of the hands of the federal government and give it to an expert, apolitical body.
Yes, I mean the garden editors at Sunset in Menlo Park, California. They developed their own Western states zones with detailed gradations, and expanded that system to cover the whole country.
I'd be fine with introducing myself as Sunset Zone 7.
The Sunset staff would have to watch their backs though. Lobbyists would be lurking in the Sunset test garden, leaping out from behind buddleias to harass editors.
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