The Q&A Archives: Tree and Perennial Suggestions

Question: I am planning to landscape a garden for my son, who lives in Santa Maria, California. House faces South, I would like some names of perennials for borders and would like to plant a tree that will give a wide shade, something that does not have deep rooting systems. I am a do-it-yourselfer and love to plants but I do not know how to go about selecting a tree to plant.

My granddaughter have allergies and I am trying to find flowers, tropical plants to plant but I have no idea of what to select. Can you point me in the right direction.

Answer: The following perennials would grow nicely in the sunny exposure you describe: Echinops exaltatus (globe thistle), Liatris spicata (gayfeather), Aster, Aquilegia (columbine), Scabiosa columbaria (pincushion flower), Stachys grandiflora (big betony), Armeria maritima (thrift), Campanula glomerata (clustered bellflower), Coreopsis, Monarda, Achillea millefolium (yarrow), Linum flavum (golden flax), Hemerocallis (daylily), Kniphofia uvaria (red hot poker), Rudbeckia (coneflower), and Gaillardia (blanket flower).

There are so many shade trees to choose from - my favorites are Acer buergeranum (trident maple), Cercidium (palo verde), Chionanthus (fringe tree), Cornus florida (flowering dogwood), Carpinus (hornbeam), Catalpa, Liquidambar (sweet gum) and Platanus (plane tree, sycamore).

A plant that triggers an allergic reaction in one person might not bother another. You might try to stay away from heavily scented flowers, or plants with large flowers (which produce much pollen). Other than that, it's pretty much a guessing game. Try growing a plant that you like. If it makes you sneeze, take it out of the garden and try growing a different plant there. Wish there were a list I could share with you, but none exists.

Best wishes with your landscaping project!

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