Landscaping around pool area
I wrote an article about this a few years ago, citing the need to avoid heavy bloomers around pools because of potential bee stings. I'm sorry you have learned the hard way. You can create some lovely plantings in your zone using foliage plants. You can try phormium, which have lovely multi-colored foliage. Some other great foliage plants inclue Canna lilies (Zones 8-11; Pretoria or Bengal Tiger have really fun foliage); Feather reed grass Calamagrostis x acutiflora Karl Foerster (Zones 5-9); Maiden grass Miscanthus sinensis Gracillimus (Zones 4-9); Purple heart setcreasea Tradescantia pallida Purpurea (Zones 10-11); Variegated sweet flag Acorus calamus (Zones 4-11). A few of those would be annuals for you. I'd try to mix annuals and perennials. You might also try ribbon grass (Phalaris), which spreads aggressively if it's happy. It is shorter and has lovely green and white ribboned leaves. Oh, sweet potato vines are colorful annuals that cover ground nicely.
The nice thing is that colored foliage is really popular now, so you should be able to create a beautiful planting using mostly foliage. Look for some of the dark burgundy or black-leafed shrubs. There's a really nice ninebark (Physocarpus) that's out. Avoid the black-leafed elderberry (Sambucus); bees really love that.
I hope this helps. You might also check out the wasp traps that www.gardeners.com carries. It wouldn't hurt to have a few of those out just to make sure you are on the offensive against the stinging insects. Happy gardening!
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