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Beginner Gardening: Looking for a small tree or shrub

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Forum: Beginner GardeningReplies: 10, Views: 96
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Pleasant Hill, CA

September 9, 2012
12:00 PM

Post #9269910

I live in zone 8b and I have a corner in my garden where I've been wanting to plant a small flowering tree or shrub. In my mind I picture something that flowers on bare branches and can grow to create a sort of canopy. I don't want it to grow too tall. I've thought about magnolias (too large probably?) and dogwood (wrong zone perhaps?). I'm also wondering if there is a concern with the roots being so close to the house wall.

Summary of what I'm dreaming about:

- Flowers on bare branches
- Canopy
- Not too tall

Any plant suggestions?

P.S. There's a tree I see around here with fern-like green leaves and these feathery pink flowers...Does anyone know what it is?

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Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

September 9, 2012
12:51 PM

Post #9269953

How much sun does the area get? That will be a big deciding factor in what would do well there. You will also open up a lot more possibilities if you don't limit yourself to things that flower on bare branches so I'm curious if that's a must or just a nice to have?

The tree with the fernlike leaves and feathery flowers is mimosa tree/silk tree, Albizia julibrissin It would be an extremely inappropriate selection for that area since it gets quite tall and wide.
Pleasant Hill, CA

September 9, 2012
2:27 PM

Post #9270033

Beautiful! Thanks for finding that tree for me, and for letting me know it won't work. Flowers on bare branches would be lovely, however, I'm not going to limit myself to it.

The location gets direct sun in the morning and the house begins casting a shadow on it by about 1-2pm.

Thanks again for your reply.
Burien, WA
(Zone 7b)

September 9, 2012
2:28 PM

Post #9270034

Cercis canadensis
North Wantagh, NY
(Zone 7a)

September 9, 2012
5:28 PM

Post #9270178

what about Crape Myrtle?
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3b)

September 10, 2012
10:28 AM

Post #9270886

Cercis canadensis looks like a beautiful tree but is not the appropriate size/height for a small space close to a house.

I think your best option is to find an attractive shrub, or a few varied shrubs (if the area is bigger than it looks). Keep in mind that no matter what you plant, it needs to be far enough from the house that it does not create maintenance problems (either to the house, say from branches scraping against it in the wind or falling on the roof, or with respect to the shrub having to be pruned to maintain the right size) - it will also need to be kept far enough from the house that it is not in the rain-shadow caused by the house's eaves (an extremely dry area where few plants can do well).
Pleasant Hill, CA

September 10, 2012
12:32 PM

Post #9271008

Interesting points, thanks altagardener. And thanks for the myrtle suggestion, SeePax.
Orlando, FL
(Zone 9b)

September 12, 2012
10:24 AM

Post #9273115

how about witch hazel? i only know that it flowers on bare branches hehe. there are dwarf magnolias, but not sure if that spot would be appropriate. but maybe you can choose a colorful Japanese maple or weeping cherry. i think dwarf varieties are available in both shrubs.
just throwing these ideas out there. :)
Pleasant Hill, CA

September 12, 2012
4:24 PM

Post #9273389

Witch hazel is pretty and reminds me of forsythia, which I'd also love to include in my space somehow.

October 2, 2012
9:05 PM

Post #9294278

Growing flowers is pleasurable and a flower garden is a like a dream. The whole process of flower gardening can be addictive and exciting. Moreover, its even good exercise.


Kiowa, CO
(Zone 5b)

October 4, 2012
9:51 PM

Post #9296324

Be careful about any Maple you might be considering, yes there are many that are small but it's the roots that can cause a problem if you plan on doing ANY planting below their canopy, very fiborous and digging can be quite difficult. Their is one fragrant flowering maple, tho blooms appear with the leaves, it's Acer ginella, 20', and red leaves in the fall. The Magnolia you might be looking for is Stella, stays smalish for a tree and wonderfully fragrant. Could look into washinton hawthorne, very fragrant, can be tree or shrub. Just a few ideas but remember to give plenty of room from the foundation... Some great shrubs are Spiareas from 18" to 6ft. Philadelphus (mock orange), very fragrant, 6x6ft. .

A great source for more ideas is your local County Extention Office, listed in the county government pages. It's a free service and under utilized but a great resouce for any info pertaing to plants in your area. Give them a call, they'll be happy to help...

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