Friday, November 25, 2011

These ain’t no wimpy raking leaves…

Every year when the leaves from my Magnolia macrophylla begin to fall to the ground I am stunned by the size of them. Somehow they are so much bigger lying on the ground than up on the tree. Isn’t that ridiculous? But it’s true. Those pavers measure 24” square, to give you an idea of the size of the leaves. Or here is a foot, for scale… And a hand... They don’t present any of the deep fall colors that make other trees so popular this time of the year, but they do have their own sturdy beauty. And once you’ve collected them up they make a lovely much for tender plants, like the Melianthus. I’ve been keeping an eye on these… Watching them get bigger and bigger and the seeds brighter and brighter. Finally one fell to the ground yesterday and I spotted it. So beautiful! Peeling back the orange coating you find this small black seed. Part of me wants to rip the whole thing apart and see if it’s filled with seeds like a pomegranate. Maybe when the next one falls to the ground, I think I want to save this one as is.

19 comments:

  1. Great to see a shot of Clifford - he's getting to be such a big tree! Those leaves are spectacular.

    So in using them to mulch your Melianthus major, how exactly do you do it? I want to winter mine over if at all possible, but the only info I could find said to use DRY mulch ... (in Portland?)

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  2. We really needed to see the foot and the hand to get a feeling for the size of those leaves. Amazing.

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  3. To me, the photos actually read less like Big Huge Leaves than like Adorable Miniature Yard, which is a neat effect.

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  4. Wow, your Magnolia is so big, how long have you had it? Mine is tiny, only four big leaves!

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  5. They are monster leaves indeed!

    I think that one can excuse their "lack" of Autumn colour given their size ;)

    My equivalent is a Paulownia tomentosa, I guess. My back garden is quite exposed and even during most summers the leaves get battered by the wind and look tatty by August/September. This year was different though as they were late starting and late finishing and with quite a wind-free (though not rain-free) summer.

    Sometimes you wish that plants like this were evergreen, but if they were then you would never see the magnificent re-birth (as my Mum calls it) of such plants in the Spring, which I am sure you will post on your blog when it happens next year :)

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  6. MulchMaid, he really is growing up, our little boy!...to mulch the Melianthus I layer up these leaves overlapping them in such a manner that it actually remains fairly dry underneath, I know it sounds crazy but it's true. I just made it up as I went last year but I think I'll do it the same again this year. I did put a small square of burlap over the top and secure with a rock oe two, to keep them from blowing away. The burlap was nasty come spring (moldy) but I just tossed it. Somehow the leaves underneath were fine (not moldy) and most importantly the Melianthus returned. I wonder if you could use your Tetrapanax leaves for the same effect?

    Lancashire rose, I love them!

    Mr S, oh I love that...makes me want to play up that feature in a future post.

    Thanks Patricia!

    Linda, I remember when ours was that size! We planted it in July of 2005, got it on our first ever visit to Cistus...it's hard to believe we've lived here that long!

    Adam, there is a huge Paulownia tomentosa down the street from us, I've seen that pile of leaves they can make...wow! And you know I don't think I've ever posted about Clifford (that's his name) in the spring. I will have to fix that!

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  7. They look so beautiful on the ground, I'd hate to rake them !

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  8. Now those leaves would make great castings for a bird feeder or bird bath!

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  9. Will you try to sprout those seeds? I had a bouquet of dried drumstick allium that kept dropping seeds. I think I will just stick them in a pot of soil to see what happens.

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  10. Wow! Great leaves!

    Me being a seed madman, was curious if you have tried growing the seed?

    Thanks!

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  11. ks, I don't even think I could rake them (hence the title of this post).

    Darla, great thought!

    ricki and tedvan, I've got three seed heads (? I don't know what to call them...) I plan to give two to my seed friend Ann and hang on to a third. I had two of them in the house for a while, enjoying the way they look, but they've been moved to make space for Christmas decor. Perhaps I'll try to propagate the seeds from the one I keep.

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  12. Those leaves are practically the size of carpet squares! I like the silvery undersides.

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  13. I would actually say Magnolia macrophylla is essential in an exotic (and not so exotic) style of gardening. I love ours, and not surprised you sing praises for yours. Even the leaves shed look great, size and silvery undersides :)

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  14. I still want me a Magnolia microphylla. Love it! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Isn't this a great autumn we're having? No cold weather yet. Hooray!

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  15. Whoah! Have you ever thought of pressing the leaves? I wouldn't have suggested it except that I was just through the Whimsical Gardener blog and she had the framed pressed leaves that looked really nice.

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  16. Wow how lucky you are for having found such a beautiful things in your garden! The bright seeds are amazing, will you use it as a home decoration?

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  17. ***The SEEDS are in the hen house.*** Just washed and arranged them on a towel. Came by to see what you'd posted about the tree. I too simply cannot get over the size of those leaves. Truly amazing! The seeds are really neat too. They definitely were more grenade-like than I'd expected.

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