Friday, June 17, 2011

It's no wonder there are societies dedicated to Magnolias! M grandiflora 'Edith Bogue'

There are two distinct seasons in the Magnolia part of the Holly Magnolia Collection: the early blooming Asian magnolias and the later flowering North American species. There's a bit of overlap, but for a generalization, it's pretty spot on. The Asian species, selections, and hybrids flower early; many of them are deciduous and come in shades of pink, purple, red, and a few white. Almost all the na natives have white flowers and bloom after their Asian counterparts are done. Some of them are not deciduous. The vast majority of these are selections of Magnolia grandiflora or M. virginiana.

The Bull Bay, or M. grandiflora, is a potentially huge tree with large leathery evergreen leaves. Along with Live Oaks, and boxwoods, it's an iconic tree on the plantations of the Old South. It's also a tree that wise designers are wary of. I know I used to wince when Magnolia came up in the pre-design trilateral discussions between myself and a husband and wife. Strong feeling are often attached to these tree. Statistically, women are attracted to the large fragrant flowers. Statistically, men abhor the fact that the trees drop leaves pretty much every day of the year. Because the trees are so large and most gardens so small, there wasn't a lot of room to compromise. Fortunately there are a number of smaller selections available now.

1 comment:

MulchMaid said...

Yup, they're big'uns. There's a small corner lot in my neighborhood with FOUR planted on the front two sides flanking the sidewalk. That might be four too many for the space.