That's cuz you were near the beach. I'm 25 miles inland which makes all the difference in the world.

When we first moved here, I used to plant anything and everything in the ground. You know, go to a friend's, take home some cuttings and stick them in the ground. Eat anything with a pit or seeds, stick them in the ground. That's how I got my avocado trees (current count 5, although I'd like to winnow down to 2). Don't fuss, don't obsess; whatever is meant to grow there, will. You'll be amazed at what comes up.