Not surprisingly, a Buckeye is one of the most desirable trees to grow locally, according to an Upper Arlington author who spoke April 19 at the Hilliard Area Garden Club's "A Garden Affair."

Not surprisingly, a Buckeye is one of the most desirable trees to grow locally, according to an Upper Arlington author who spoke April 19 at the Hilliard Area Garden Club's "A Garden Affair."

"Being an Ohio State graduate, I have to have at least one Buckeye in here," said Scott Zanon, author of the book "Desirable Trees for the Midwest." "This is the Red Buckeye," he said as he gave a slide presentation to a packed audience in the Hilliard Senior Center.

He described the Red Buckeye as being "mature size 10- to 20-feet tall and wide, slow to medium growth rate, a dark green leaf color typical of buckeyes. A little bit of fall color; showing six-inch red panicles (a branched cluster of flowers) in May; you'll get the buckeye fruit on these, also."

His book listed 50 trees suitable for residential and other properties, but Zanon discussed 14 of his favorites for the garden club.

Zanon, a member of the Upper Arlington City Tree Commission, recommended that homeowners have a variety of trees. He listed the Paper Bark Maple, Red Buckeye, Serviceberry, White Fringe Tree, Persian Parrotia, Gingko, Panicled Golden Rain Tree, Swamp White Oak, Lacebark Elm, Japanese Zelkova, Canaan Fir, Dawn Redwood, Serbian Spruce, and Common Bald Cypress among his choices.

Of those trees, Zanon's favorite was the Persian Parrotia, which he said grows to 30 feet high and 20 feet wide.

"A lot of people don't know about this tree. I absolutely love it," he said. "Nice bark, dark green leaves - looks like witch hazel, which is a member of the same family. Beautiful fall colors - you get yellows and oranges, pinks and purples. It does well in our soils. If you're looking for a nice four-season plant, buy it. It will not disappoint."

Zanon said trees offer a number of benefits to homeowners, but there is also a downside, such as broken sidewalks and driveways caused by root growth.

"I can tell you not far from where I live in Upper Arlington, there are some poorly planted trees in this little median devil strip, and the sidewalks are all heaved," Zanon said. "But I wasn't on the commission at that time."

Zanon also discussed the emerald ash borer, an insect that is wiping out ash trees at an alarming rate. The borer is an invasive species that came to Detroit from China.

"This is another reason not to like the state of Michigan," Zanon said.

The Garden Affair, which is the Hilliard Area Garden Club's big event of the year, also featured displays, sales, refreshments and door prizes.

"The reason we do this is to reach out to the community," said club president Mike Walls.

For more information, visit www.hilliardareagardenclub.com.