You need to look in the Sunset Western Garden Book, newest edition you can find. If you don’t want to buy one (but you should have it!) either check the local library; or see if one is available to consult at a good garden center, local garden club, or such.
Their maps take into account many more factors than the USDA maps, and divides into (IIRC) 24 climate zones for the Western states. The SoCal maps are quite detailed.
Check it out here: http://www.sunset.com/garden/climate-zones/
Thanks for the info.
Still, the best thing to do is what my local gardening column advises — walk around your neighborhood to see what grows! And, that’s exactly what I do. Whenever I walk my dogs, I make a mental note of what is blooming, what is healthy, what looks good.
Saves a lot of money, time and effort because often what is in the local nurseries around here looks great but doesn’t grow well here. We also have terrible terrible, hard-packed clay soil that needs heavy amendment.
Still, after 20 years, my yard looks pretty good and I have flowers all year around — my neighbor is about to declare war, said his wife keeps asking why THEIR yard can’t look like mine.
Gardening is the best stress relief there is!! Good to get your hands in the dirt, pull a few weeds, shovel up some rocks and dirt.
And the thrill of success.. there’s nothing like it!!
Now, give me some hints about keeping CATS out of my flower beds (I have two cats myself) — DOGS too (two dogs). Love my animals but don’t like my beds dug up!!
Dittos on Sunset guide