Zone 8 offers one of the more favorable conditions and a longer growing season than most zones. You can grow a variety of vegetables, flowers, trees, and other perennials. You can often times protect most plants during the winter in this zone by amending with mulch.
Early to Mid-October is the typical time-frame, but can go as late as first week in November.
Mid-March is the typical time-frame, but at times it can go up to as laste as first week of April.