] We are planning to plant a tree in honor of my father-in-law in the backyard
] of his home in San Francisco. It is a very small yard of mostly cement, but
] with a narrow strip of dirt. The house is located near the San Francisco Zoo
] close to the ocean. We would like some suggestions for small trees that
] would work well in the climate. I thought of a bay tree since the leaves can
] be used for seasoning. We live in PA, but are from San Francisco. We plan to
] contact gardening clubs in San Francisco, and the botanical garden in Golden
] Gate Park for suggestions also, but I thought people in this group might
] have suggestions.
It would help to know the exposition of the spot, how much sun
it gets, how much wind. Wind is the main issue in the Sunset
near the zoo. The climate at Strybing is very different from
where you plan to plant, so make sure you tell them the plant is
for the Sunset.
The Sloat St. Nursery, obviously not far, would be an excellent
source of advice as they are growing in your exact microclimate.
They have a decent selection, and a good reputation locally.
Imagining the sort of plot you describe I'd guess a Bay tree would
grow too large. Perhaps a Camelia of some sort, if sufficiently
protected, or a Rhododendron?
If the plot is protected from the west, well sheltered and doesn't get
too much direct sun, your options are better. In this situation I'd
go with some sort of maple, like A. shirasawanum 'Autumn Moon'
or A. japonicum 'Green Cascade.'
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