|The purple Saucer Magnolia - 2013 BDG|
I still don't feel like posting my piece on mulch in the wake of the past two weeks here, so I will focus on some of the beautiful revelations this week as our spring continues its slow and consistent march forward. One of the great beneficiaries to a "Goldilocks Spring"(not too hot and not too cold), is the Magnolia.
Here in New England if we get a week of warm weather they open and drop their petals very quickly. On the other hand, if they open and we get a frost, the petals burn(turn brown) and drop.
|Star Magnolia finishing its three week bloom - 2013 BDG|
The most susceptible seems to be the Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata), rarely do we get a show like we have had this year with them blooming for three weeks. They are called Star Magnolia for the star shaped flowers with many petals. The Star Magnolia seems to open a week or two before the Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia soulangiana). The Saucer Magnolias are having an amazing spring too with many different cultivars their colors ranging from the purples to roses and to pale pinks.
|A rose Saucer Magnolia - 2013 BDG|
I don't typically use Magnolias in my designs in New England because space is at a premium on most of the properties I work, and I often choose ornamental trees that offer more throughout the seasons, but on these spring days, it makes me want to re-think my opinion. Also, I don't want to get the Magnolia Society upset at me.
There are many other species: kobus, lilliflora, denudata, acuminata, virginiana and crosses of these species that are available at some nurseries in the area. I know a few people that even have the classic evergreen southern Magnolia growing on their properties, but that is an iffy proposition around here. The virginiana or Sweet Bay Magnolia is another favorite that flowers a little later and can be quite fragrant, but the flower display is not on the level of these early spring Magnolias. There are some reliable yellow flowering Magnolias that are crosses between denudata and the cucumber Magnolia (acuminata). "Butterflies" and "Elizabeth" are two commonly available yellow-flowering plants.
|Acer japonica "Aconitifolium" - 2013 BDG|
|Stewartia pseudocamellia just leafing out - 2013 BDG|
|Pulmonaria, the first perennial to bloom with the bulbs - 2013 BDG|