I have got a bit behind with blogging; the weather has been so wonderful and I have been out in the garden most days working until I’m gibbering with exhaustion and not at my sunniest and sweetest best.
But I can’t let the Magnolia season slip by without posting about them. They have been wonderful this year as there have been no frosts to ruin them. There are so many wonderful varieties that I cannot understand why everyone grows Magnolia x soulangeana. It is beautiful but there are three drawbacks to planting this Magnolia. It takes years to be full clothed in blooms. Most years April frosts turn the flowers brown. Thirdly, everyone else grows it. Here it is in a neighbour’s garden.
There were no magnolias in this garden, so first of all I planted my beautiful Magnolia ‘Black Tulip’. I brought it with me from my previous garden, so it is 5 years old now and blooming well. Magnolias don’t like root disturbance so I was lucky that it survived. It bloomed the very first year that I bought it. It is not actually black, but very dark pink and the flowers are more the shape of water lilies than tulips. But it is gorgeous.
Lovely as the’Black Tulip’ is, if I could only have one Magnolia it would probably be Magnolia ‘Susan’ which is the result of a cross between Magnolia liliflora ‘Nigra’ and Magnolia stellata ‘Rosea’. It is covered with dark pink, scented flowers. My tree is only a year old, but here is a picture of the one in my friend’s garden.
I have one of Susan’s parents in my garden; Magnolia liliflora ‘Nigra’. My previous garden had been a nursery and there were 23 different magnolias growing in the garden. I layered this one so that I had a young plant to bring with me. This is the best and easiest way to propagate them. They do produce beautiful seeds some years. A seedling appeared in my previous garden much to my delight. I waited more than 8 years and at last it bloomed but it was a total disappointment with tiny white flowers.
Magnolia liliflora is later -flowering than many magnolias and I took these photos today. The bud is very dark so you can see how it gets its name ‘Nigra’.
I have Susan’s other parent Magnolia stellata in white. The star magnolia makes a bush rather than a tree so it is suitable for smaller gardens.
Another Magnolia with fluttery star-like flowers is Magnolia x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’. The flowers are pale pink and gorgeous so this is another favourite.
Some years ago I visited the late Princess Sturdza’s magnificent garden, Le Vasterival near Dieppe in France. She grew many beautiful magnolias, but she told me her favourite was Magnolia ‘Star Wars’. As she was a gardener of great discernment I took her advice and bought this wonderful tree. It is fast growing and produces its large flowers whilst still young. My tree is 4 years old and has 16 flowers this year. ( Do all gardeners count their flowers?) It comes from New Zealand and is a cross between Magnolia campbelli and Magnolia liliflora. The chalice shaped flowers are rose-pink and fragrant.
Magnolia wilsonii is a very late flowering deliciously scented magnolia which blooms in May so I will show you that another day.
So until recently I had these 7 magnolias. And then I had a sudden rush of blood to my head and realised that 7 is just not enough, so now I have 10. Please dear blogger friends, remind me next year that I have enough magnolias now and I don’t need any more. I have no room for any more. No more magnolias.
Here are my new ones. Last year I saw the beautiful Magnolia Wada’s Memory’ in the arboretum at The Place for Plants, East Bergholt and I have been wanting one ever since. It makes a pyramidal shaped tree and is covered in large, pure white, fluttery, star-shaped flowers. It reminds me of a handkerchief tree. When I went in Autumn I noticed that the leaves had turned gold. My little tree has 2 flowers.
Peter, theoutlawgardener made me realise I really needed the beautiful yellow Magnolia ‘Elizabeth’. Clearly no magnolia collection is complete without a yellow one and it is gorgeous. It has 6 flowers on it. I love magnolias that don’t keep you waiting for their blooms.
My latest purchase was classified as a Michelia until recently but now it is Magnolia laevifolia ‘Gail’s Favourite’. It is a shrub with dark green leaves which are rust on the underside. The nice brown, velvety buds open up into masses of sweetly smelling, creamy -white flowers. It is still in bud, so I will show you what it looks like in flower another day.
So now you’ve seen my collection, maybe you can see why I am mad on magnolias. But I must not buy any more. That’s it. Enough. Really.