A Great Place to Visit, but Not to Live | Letter from the Editor

Nearly every plant can be relocated. This dragon’s-eye pine recently got a new home with more space. While it gets established, annuals and tropicals such as ‘Cleopatra’ canna (Canna ‘Cleopatra’, Zones 9–11) act as space fillers.

My retirement plan had always been to move to a tropical island. In the past when folks told me they wanted to spend their golden years in Maine, I never understood why. In my mind you’re supposed to pick a place where you love to vacation—where you can spend the day under the shade of a banana tree, sipping a cocktail with a tiny umbrella in it. Who wants to retire to a place with more snow than sand?

Me, that’s who.

Thanks to the oppressive heat and humidity in New England this summer, I’ve changed my retirement plans. It has been so steamy and sticky over the past month, even the most low-impact gardening tasks have been nearly impossible to accomplish without risking heat stroke. Admittedly, summer is generally the time I spend enjoying my garden and not working in it, but even lounging on the patio in the evening has been torturous. I hope my container gardens are still looking good in late September, because that’s likely the next time I’ll be able to sit on the porch and admire them. And don’t even get me started on the watering.

Given all this, and the fact that I’m likely going to still be gardening in retirement, I think relocating to a tropical island where heat and humidity are the norm isn’t a great idea after all. I can always bring a bit of the tropics to a more temperate location by growing tropical plants. If the authors of Tropical Inspiration for Shade Containers can channel the island vacation vibes through the pots they create in Minnesota, why can’t I do that in Maine?

I’m sure I’ll change my mind about retirement locations a few more times before I actually can retire. But for now you’ll find me in my air-conditioned office, looking online for tropical vacation destinations and trying to ignore the wilting tomato plants outside.

—Danielle Sherry is the executive editor.

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