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How to Adjust to Moving to a Different Garden Zone with Mama Failla, Ep 167



How do you tackle a different garden zone than what you’re used to? Moving can be a tremendous and significant change in our lives, with so much excitement and opportunities awaiting us in new places. However, for gardeners like us, it can mean a scary and stressful time starting from scratch with our gardens, especially in a completely different gardening zone. This is what Mama Failla, an expert gardener in Zone 7, had to learn and adapt to when she and Father Failla moved to a Zone 10, which is in tropical Florida. In this episode, Mama Failla imparts practical gardening and motherly advice on moving and facing the different seasons of life with optimism and resilience.


In this episode, we learn:

  • [01:36] Maria’s updates from sunny Florida
  • [03:06] A gift idea for yourself and for your other plant friends
  • [06:03] How moving can influence one’s self and gardener identity
  • [11:22] What has moving from New York to Florida been like for Mama Failla?
  • [13:42] How long does it take to adjust to a new garden zone?
  • [17:09] The difference between New York soil and Florida soil
  • [20:22] The best plant accessories for gifting this holiday season
  • [23:43] What are practical ways to prepare for a new garden zone and climate?
  • [28:34] On the importance of determining sun exposure in your new garden
  • [31:40] Why you need to consider growing in pots or container gardens
  • [33:52] Where to get the best advice on your new garden zone
  • [37:48] The best gardening products to set your garden up for success
  • [40:17] Why gardening should be fun and experimental!
  • [43:49] Mama Failla shares how she deals with the current season of life she’s in
  • [49:29] What are Mama Failla’s plans for her garden next year?
  • [52:51] Maria’s reflections on transitions and her gardening journey

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Gardening with Grace

In the past couple of years, many of us have made big moves in our personal and gardening lives. May it be internal or external changes, we all had to reevaluate what is truly important for us. Some moves can go smoothly, while others can be disorienting.

For Mama Failla, fulfilling their dreams of moving to southern Florida to enjoy their retirement prompted them to leave New York. There are struggles that come with her new garden zone, but Mama Failla reminds herself and everyone experiencing the same:

You need to give yourself time, grace, and patience. Moving, no matter how near or far, influences one’s gardening identity and self, so being patient with yourself and the challenges you face is a big part of regaining your confidence and knowledge in the garden.


Mama Failla’s Tips for Adapting to New Garden Zones

What are the things you need to think about to prepare for your new garden zone and climate?

Here are Mama Failla’s top tips from her personal experience:


  • Local botanical gardens

Make sure to visit your local botanical gardens as they have the best selection of plants that will thrive in your new garden zone. You can also look at the showcased grouped plants and recreate the same arrangement in your garden. Aside from plants, you can also check out the botanical garden’s lectures and classes!


  • Books (with pictures!)

Books are always a great resource for gardeners. Mama Failla personally prefers gardening books with pictures since they make it easier to reference plants in real life. Mama Failla also suggests sourcing your gardening books from local used bookstores as they usually have vintage gorgeous pictures – and it’s a sustainable practice! 


  • Pay attention

Mama Failla says everyone is a different gardener at different stages of their life. It is important that you focus on the various aspects of gardening like your sun, watering frequency, and temperature to start, but you also need to consider your time and your physical capabilities when gardening in your new zone. Pay attention to the differences in your body and make sure you’re pacing yourself well as you adapt to the new climate!


  • Live in your space

Listen up, plant friends! It takes time to figure out what will work and what won’t in your new garden zone. Books help and asking questions from local gardeners adds to your success, but living in your space, observing where the sun hits your plants at different times of the day, and feeling how fast your soil dries: these are things that only you can determine and plan for.


  • Have fun with it!

Gardening is an extension of ourselves, so we should definitely have fun with it and experiment. Even with a new garden zone, allow yourself to try different things in the garden. Like when Mama Failla bought one-dollar zinnia packs that later on decorated her front lawn with beautiful colors, you too can have big rewards that come from taking one small risk.


Embracing the Seasons of Life

Similar to gardening, we also face different seasons in life. May it be due to a changing climate or taking on a completely different planting zone, welcoming the seasons of our life with open arms and a great attitude is Mama Failla’s top advice. 

With your new gardening zone, there will come failures and unexpected turns, but they are necessary for your growth as a gardener. It will take time, but it will be worth it once you figure it out. 

You’ve got this, plant friend!



Mentioned in our conversation:


Thank you to our episode sponsors:

Modern Sprout

When you think of planty products and accessories, you need to think Modern Sprout. With gorgeous different lines of planty products and accessories from grow lights to watering cans to the cutest gift sets, Modern Sprout has got you covered for this holiday season.

Visit to see my top gift picks for the holidays and use code GROWINGJOY at checkout for 20% off sitewide.

Espoma Organic

Espoma Organic is dedicated to making safe indoor and outdoor gardening products for people, pets, and the planet. They have an amazing variety of high-quality, organic potting mixes, garden soil, fertilizers, and pest control products that are organic and eco-friendly.

Visit to find your local Espoma dealer or check my Amazon storefront.


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