It's hard to imagine: after such an abnormally warm fall, temperatures will soon be stuck below freezing.

That won't keep the largest garden in West Michigan from closing its doors, but they will have to make a few changes before winter arrives.

Ed McKee, the horticulture manager at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park explains: "We're always trying to push the envelope" when choosing what plants will call the gardens home.

Ten planting zones serve as guidelines for gardeners telling them what plants grow well in a particular area. These zones are determined by many factors including temperature, soil type and amount of annual precipitation.

Recently, the zones were re-evaluated and many were shifted north because of warmer temperatures and longer growing seasons. Incidentally, West Michigan tied the longest growing season at 212 days.

That means plants that typically grow in areas south of Michigan can be planted north of where they might be found in the wild.

Meijer Gardens gives special attention to these plants and evaluates them annually.