When You Plant (Supposedly) Doomed Blooms Out of Zone
Gardening is like baking, in that you're supposed to follow the rules on the package or things—be it a cake or rose bush—will shrivel up and go black. And yet, one spring or another, your perplexed neighbors might witness you brazenly breaking ground in the yard and dragging over a dahlia (or another flowering plant), which USDA Hardiness Mapmaker clearly states on its color-coded guide will not grow in this zone of the United States. A few may even stop by and inform you of your error, to which you may reply "thank you"—and go on planting. Because you're already aware, of course, of the slimmer-than-slim possibility that this seedling will live, much less flower. What you're putting your faith in, however, is 1 percent of a 1 percent chance of a having a splashy cluster of pink dahlias outside your window. Because that unlikely but not impossible blossoming promises the kind of small, totally personal victory that will send so many other larger, ancient defeats directly into the compost heap of the forgotten.