Monday, March 10, 2008

Joyful Confession of an Acquisitive Gardener

On a more cheerful note, I have a confession to make. Last week, at the Philadelphia Flower Show I only bought one plant, the Joy Magnolia; it was not a native. I paid over fifty dollars for a Magnolia, or Michelia, champaca. In the last row of vendors, when I had given up hope of finding anything to covet (and I am an avaricious gardener), there it was. Actually there were two of them and the booth staff was in the process of trying to sell one to an interested woman in a buying mode. I am pretty sure my incredulously gasped, "I don't believe they have this plant" had something to do with her deciding to go ahead and snatch one up. I was a bit more decisive though, and for an extra five dollars got seventeen leaves instead of 12 and a small branch!

This tropical Asian magnolia is the source of the fragrance of the perfume Joy, which either is or was at one time the most expensive perfume in the world. The flowers are generally acknowledged to be in the top ten most fragrant in the world. Thats important. The tree can grow to well over 10m and is used for timber as well as perfume. It is an evergreen with typical Michelia leaves. It ought to be hardy in our Florida garden. Since we are going to be there, for a week in early April it may get in the ground this year. I am thinking though that I may pot it up in order to put a somewhat larger plant in the ground; after all we go away for four months at a time and it will be on its own.

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