Q&As/Garden Landscape Design/Rock Garden

Question

I am trying to set out a small rock garden, as there is a large magnolia tree growing in the middle of the main garden and it has a lot of spidery roots. It is very hard to grow anything successfully because of these roots. What advice would you give me to grow cactus etc? I would be pleased if you could help me.

Answer

This is not an ideal spot for cactus and succulents because of the magnolia trees extensive root system and possibly summer shading of the plants below. It would be better to choose different types of plants that are more suited to this environment. They should be no taller than 20cm and have roots that are not too vigorous that can grow and thrive amongst the roots of the magnolia.
We recommend the following perennials that will grow happily under the magnolia tree: Alchemilla Mollis, Anemone Japonica, Aquilegias, Shasta Daisies, Hellebores and Primroses.
To add variety, you can also include some of the following bulbs to your planting such as Freesias, Daffodils, Iris, Nerines and Tulips. In the individual sites where you are planting, add in generous amounts of Daltons Premium Rose & Flower Bed Mix to give plants the best start. 

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