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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
- 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?
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 http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/1764/ It would be an extremely inappropriate selection for that area since it gets quite tall and wide.
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).
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. :)
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...