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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Tale of the Magnolia

So when we first purchased our house the landscaping involved four Yew Bushes along the front of the house, and two Japanese Maples in the front yard.  The yew bushes met Mr. Husqvarna before dishes made it in the door, and I was able to plant some of the plants that I periodically mention.  The Japanese Maples continued to wear on my mind, and I have slowly replaced them over the last few years with two Magnolia virginiana (Sweetbay Magnolia).

When I actually replaced the mature Japanese Maples with the Magnolia's my neighbors were in shock.  They couldn't believe that I would remove such "nice" plants, and talked about all of the common "magnolia" misconceptions.  I tried to explain that Magnolia virginiana was a completely different plant than the more common Magnolia stellata (Star Magnolia) whose blooms typically succumb to frost (and of course is native to Japan).  Sweetbay Magnolia is a beautiful plant whose blooms are quite fragrant, and the blooms wait until later in the year.  The two in my front yard just completed the first cycle of blooming and this has been a year when most of the plants are at least a week or two earlier than normal.  

The next time you are looking for some type of flowering specimen tree to spice up your yard, I highly recommend Magnolia virginiana.  Here are some of the great characteristics of the plant: It is semi-evergreen; it will bloom slowly but continuously throughout the summer, it reaches about 15' in height, and the fall red seed pods give added interest and provide a great food source for birds.  

This plant is currently listed as threatened in the state of Pennsylvania so not too many of them are found growing in the wild. 

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