I enjoy trips to Florida. The best time to go is in the winter when the snow is on the ground and it is cold outside in my zone 5 home. I really appreciate the flowers, warmth and sun of the climate and wish for those days back home in the garden. I like the beauty of the plants grown in Florida and I always thought it would be nice to grow those plants in my zone. Years ago I purchased my first tropical plant and it made the trip back home in the back of the car. Fifteen years later, I still have it. In the past, you could not have purchased tropical plants like Hibiscus, Bougainvillea, Mandevilla or Banana in Zone 5. Now they are available in all the nurseries and box stores. We treat the plants like annuals. Most people discard the plant at the end of the growing season or try to maintain the plants in the house. Tropicals don't look that good after a long winter. Their leaves turn yellow and fall off, they don't bloom and most people throw them away in disgust. I have a greenhouse and I maintain my tropical plants all year round. On those cold wintery days you can go outside in the greenhouse and enjoy the flowers. Just like being in Florida - or at least close to it.
The Creative Gardener