The Magnolia

If the Camellia is the sophisticate of the garden then the Magnolia is like that bohemian next-door-neighbor with those bold flowy dresses, delicate and full of life. I just can't help smiling when I see one in bloom, they hold nothing back!

From the explosive 'Ta-Da' of the spring flowering magnolias to the seductively scented evergreen Magnolia grandifloras I am at a loss as to which to invite next into my garden - I love them all. There are about 100 different species and too numerous to count cultivars, each a marvel in its own right.

Magnolias require very little in the way of special treatment preferring a well drained acid, soil rich in organic matter. Dappled shade and out of the wind is appreciated but they can happily grow in full sun, right out in the open like the glorious Magnolia x soulangeana cultivar I can see from my front window growing across the street.

Most of the blossoms are fragrant and are pollinated by beetles! The seed heads are usually a bright pink or red and a feature in their own right! During the winter the fuzzy buds on some varieties are very pronounced, a favourite of many florists. They are also one of my favourite plants to prune…the cut wood smells like tangerines! For those of us who are prone to Martha Stewart moments…the leaves of the Magnolia make lacy faery wings…especially if you spray the leaf skeletons with glitter!

In the landscape a woodland garden or native garden shows off many of our deciduous magnolias to their best advantage. An underplanting of Lily of the Valley, Brunnera or Ferns makes a breathtaking sight. The dense tropical glossy green of Magnolia grandiflora looks deliciously tropical paired with a wash of the variegated green and gold leaved or burgundy leaved Cannas. The pairing choices are close to endless!

Here is a list of some notable varieties:

Yulan Magnolia
Magnolia denudata
A pure white bloom revered in China and a symbol of purity.
Leonard Messel Magnolia
Magnolia x loebneri 'Leonard Messel'BR> A lovely shrub form star magnolia for the small garden. Other notable 'star' varieties include Spring Snow, Royal Star and Wada's Memory.
Galaxy Magnolia
Magnolia 'Galaxy'
Sweetly fragrant and such a lovely cupcake pink.
Siebold Magnolia
Magnolia sieboldii
Amazingly attractive white blooms with red center
Yellow Bird Magnolia
Magnolia 'Yellow Bird'
A newer cross with a lovely sunshine yellow bloom. Other good yellow varieties include 'Butterflies' and the interestingly named Cucumber Tree (Magnolia acuminata 'Koban Dori')
Little Gem Evergreen Magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem'
An evergreen type, one blossom will scent a room. Flowers are large, summer blooming and pure white in colour.

For more information about Magnolias or help in selecting one for your garden, call Art's Nursery at 604.882.1201 or visit us in person and we'd be happy to assist you.

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Art's Nursery Ltd.

8940 192nd Street,
Surrey, BC, Canada,
V4N 3W8

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