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Saturday 31st July, 2021
Magnolias keep all the sexy bits inside.
There have been some pretty intense thunder showers, just around the end of the day, here of late and they make for some pretty cool photos. One often sees incredibly dark clouds behind the stand of Kahikatea and then the late afternoon sun streaming across and highlighting the foreground... just magic. It always inspires me to try and capture the moment and on one such afternoon I looked down and spied fallen petals from the nearby Magnolia.
Now I knew that Magnolia Denudata, in the garden centre, was showing its icy white blooms as they slowly emerged but I hadn't been in the garden to see that Vulcan was in full bloom, LOL too busy potting. It's not even August yet and I thinking, perhaps, that all the magnolias seem early to flower this year.
Interestingly, the male and female bits and pieces are included deep inside the flower for beetles and insects to find and do their thing. The nitty gritty of pollination happens inside those fleshy outer parts that we would call the flower and there are so many gorgeous forms of these tepals to tempt us to have a collection in our garden.
There is also a Stellata Magnolia in the garden in full bloom with masses of classic starry or spidery like blooms. There are a couple of traditional ones that I should mention first like Stellata Rosea which has the typical flowers in an attractive shade of pink but on the whole they are mostly white shades. Check out Waterlily or Royal star.
Mostly Stellata have the reputation for being a smaller tree that would suit many of todays smaller, LOL, tiny sections but a couple spring to mind that are even smaller again and these are Dawn and Jane Platt and curiously these are both in pink shades.
There are a few Stellata hybrids that are worth a mention and again suitable for the smaller gardens... Leonard Messel which is a Stellata/Kobus cross and then check out Susan which is a Stellata/Liliflora cross.. While on the subject of the smaller growing Magnolias Liliflora and Liliflora Nigra are worthy of a mention too. All of these exhibit the starry look but with broader and longer tepals.
There are so many gorgeous Magnolias that I can't do them all justice here in this email.. It's no secret that I personally love all the whites and that Denudata Alba is a favourite.. many of the other whites have a very faint blush at the base but I think that is pretty special. David Clulow is a large flower white that is pretty impressive. Lennei Alba is one that I keep promising myself to get into the garden and i must add Billowing Cloud to that list.
Check them out on the web site, all of these plus others.. There are quite a few of the deep burgundy ones these days with no other colour like Burgundy Star, Black Tulip, Vulcan, and then too many to mention are all the others
Lastly yellow is a colour that one doesn't usually associate with Magnolias and if I remember rightly are the last to flower but Koban Dori, Hot Flash and Butterflies are all in stock right now.
The Tui have been waiting for the flowers to open in my Felix Jury flowering cherry and they are having a feeding frenzy now that the flowers are open. It does seem as though they are earlier this year as well... or is it just the fact that I have been potting non stop from June and the months are just dissolving!
What you learn from You tube Fun fact
We were watching Gardeners World the other night, an old version being broadcast to the TV from You tube. The garden was actually Wollerton old hall but I was fascinated to learn that the head gardener there actually peeled of the peeling bark, before winter, to expose the fresh white stuff underneath and then washed the trunks with warm water so that they would be as white as white can be. If you hadn't already guessed, I'm talking about Betula Jacquemontii and I have to say I can't imagine that I would ever find the time to do that... but who knows...maybe one day!!!
Betula utilis Jaceqmontii or Himalayan Birch - an attractive bright white bark, dark green leaves which turn yellow in autumn, and interesting catkins in spring. An elegant tree that is perfect for all gardens, large or small. Looks great group planting. Prefers a soil that does not completely dry out in summer.
Betula J White Spire also a Himalayan Birch. A selected form of this special tree that has a glistening white trunk of peeling bark. The dark green foliage has serrated edges and turns warm yellow in autumn. 'White Spire' tends to have a very upright columnar habit. Plant in soil that does not completely dry out in summer.
Cryptomeria japonica or Japanese Cedar make pretty handsome specimen trees, tall and slender and not too unlike a redwood in form. They would make a handsome cluster but they also make damn fine hedges. If you look around some of the Kiwifruit orchards in the Bay of Plenty you will see some really well maintained, very slender, shelter belts used for those, all important, wind breaks. Those hedges show just how tight these can be trimmed and it never ceases to amaze me at how slender they are kept.
A small grade that may be suitable for a long shelter if some one is out there looking for some numbers. The plants are also bare root and around 20 cm high.. Thought that I would put a deal on these as well to get them out before we need to pot them up.
Of course these could also be used for a boundary hedge that is not so high and be kept at around 1 metre wide... perfect for a lifestyle block boundary hedge or for a living wall between neighbours. Now we do have a cutting grown selected form of these Cedars called Egmont that are a delicious shade of green, great plants that will give you that hedge with an edge.
Cupressus ovensii also popular for hedging and we have a bare root batch of these as well if any one is looking hedging plants, these are more like 40cm high.
Gosh these weekends roll into each other I think that we have finally broken the main thrust of all the trees.. don't think for a minute that we have finished as there will still be more coming but hopefully in more manageable amounts.