Friday, April 18, 2014

Magnolia laevifolia is my favorite plant in the garden, this week…

I love magnolias, in fact even the word “magnolia” makes me happy. Thank god I’m not going to have children because if I did I might just have to name our first born Magnolia, it could just almost be bearable for a girl child (no doubt she'd be called Maggie), but what a curse for a little boy.

The image at the top was taken in my garden, the one below was taken at Cistus Nursery when we visited last weekend

And so was this one…

I’ve been in love with Magnolia laevifolia ever since spotting it in the Kennedy School garden years ago. I already had a couple of them in my garden but this one is a new addition, from my friend Bridget (she moved out of her garden (and house) a month or so back).

It’s crazy ahead of my own M. laevifolia, and that’s not a bad thing since it means the floral show will last longer if the plants space themselves out.

The fragrant white flowers make me weak in the knees, but if I had to choose I’d claim the brown fuzzy pre-flower bits as my favorite. They stick around for months!

But the blooms. They are pretty fabulous, and there are so many of them!

This is one of those plants that's suffered a bit of an identity crisis. As Cistus Nursery tells the tale... "Stunning plant! Recently called M. dianica and previously Michelia yunnanensis but this plant is always fabulous with its graceful, ropey foliage; profuse, intensely fragrant white blooms in spring and summer; and first rate cinnamon indumentum on the buds in autumn! Easily accepts sun to half shade with regular water. Frost hardy in USDA zone 8 and very possibly into mid zone 7..."

And Xera Plants says "A wonderful evergreen shrub with rounded leaves that are deep green and backed with a brown indumentum which coats the stems as well...The flower buds are coated in brown fur as well and are formed in the previous year and are showy through the winter. They open to 6 petaled white very fragrant flowers in April and are profuse born along the lithe stems. Unlike other Magnolias they are not brittle and are not damaged in snow and ice bending easily. This undemanding and handsome shrub is at home in full sun as well as shade in well drained soil with regular irrigation though it is tolerant of dry conditions when established..."

I am irrationally in love with this plant. I'd love to be able to include 10 or 20 magnolias in our garden but realistically that's just not possible. This one however could fit in any and every garden. You need one, really. What are you waiting for?

Okay, rescue me from my magnolia madness...what are you in love with in your garden this week???

All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

37 comments:

  1. Ugh! I had mine in a pot overwinter because there is a laurel that needs to be ripped out of where I want to plant it. Sadly, it did not make it through arctic blast. I almost grabbed one at Hortlandia, but I was already very deep in plants! Must get out to Cistus this weekend! Your photos are gorgeous and it's killing me! Cheers- Kiersten

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    1. Yes indeed you must get out to Cistus! Just remember the magnolia because you'll be very tempted by hundreds of other beauties.

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  2. Couldn't describe M. laevifolia any better. Tough, beautiful year round, versatile, and sweet smelling in bloom. As close to a perfect shrub that there is.
    Jim N. Tabor

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    1. So Jim, you have one? (two?)

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    2. I just have one. Maybe it's not the perfect shrub...I think my Arctostaphylos bakerii Louis Edmonds is more impressive at this stage. It's bark just adds a little extra.

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  3. Hehe, I love the idea of you having a daughter named Magnolia. Maybe you can name your next dog that. That is a great plant, I actually like the buds even better than the open flowers. Hmm...where can I put one?

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    1. Oh Alison, you've got room and simply must get one! Andrew's got a pretty long list of dog names, I don't know if I could successfully get Magnolia on the list.

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  4. Ooooh, that is so pretty. So 'pure' looking and elegant, and lovely against the colour of your house. I don't have one, but mum has (what I know as) 'red wine' magnolias along the side of her house, and the scent is just as you said - enough to make you weak in the knees.

    Mine has a little bit of brown fuzz this week too, haha: http://crmbsgrdn.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/my-favourite-plant-in-garden-this-week_18.html

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    1. Being fairly clueless about what plants we can grow in common I'm thrilled to learn you too can grow at least a few magnolias.

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    2. Whoops, I was thinking about this and it came to me that it is 'Port Wine' not red wine, haha.

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  5. Love this and fell for one in bloom at Hortlandia, mostly because you've posted about it before and the buds looked so wonderful in your pictures. There's always room for another magnolia! Your new one looks great next to the chocolate brown of your house. Sorry I jumped the gun and posted my favorite plant yesterday. http://outlawgarden.blogspot.com/2014/04/aesculus-hippocastanum-laciniata-is-my.html

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    1. But didn't you also buy one at Heronswood last September? Do you know have two?

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    2. Wow, you have a great memory! I put it in a very sheltered place in its pot and it looks like it might not make it. If it lives, it will have some die back and won't get big enough to bloom for two or three years. And since to look at things in bloom, twenty springs are little room... (Apologies to A.E. Houseman) I got the blooming on at Hortlandia. I promise to get it in the ground this spring! Tomorrow is going to be a planting extravapalooza in the outlaw garden!

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  6. Oh, here's a link to my favorite this week: http://bonneylassie.blogspot.com/2014/04/my-favorite-plant-in-garden-this-week.html

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    1. Gonna head over to check it out...

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  7. Ooops, my previous comment disappeared. Let's try again.

    It easy to see why you love magnolias. I do too, my favorite being the stately Magnolia grandiflora. But that one requires a LOT of space!

    Hey, you may never have kids, but surely you'll have another dog at some point in the future (sorry, Lila). You can name her Magnolia!

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    1. Oh stupid blogger, I've heard of that happening to a couple other people recently too.

      I dream of a yard large enough for a Magnolia grandiflora, instead I just have several trees around town I think of as "mine" and visit regularly.

      As for another dog that's actually not going to happen. Lila and I have an agreement, she's going to live forever, or at least as long as I do.

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  8. I love that you have ever changing favorites. I feel like I date plants...as I look over what is available at the growers and what comes across my radar from a blog like yours or I see in magazines. I will put this an that plant into designs for a while and then I move on. Some I do plant in my garden so that is more of a committed relationship. Houston is a bit of an island and while so much would grow here the selection is limited : ( This week my favorite is my little rescued Japanese Maple - Here he is in my blog today! http://ravenscourtgardens.com/2014/04/18/garden-quote-antonie-de-saint-exupery-you-become-respoinsible/

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    1. When I started this weekly post it was because I just kept thinking "oh that looks so amazing right now, I wish I could tell everyone about it!" and so I decided to do just that. I like your analogy to dating, very fitting!

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  9. A gorgeous plant, I love that flower and can smell from over here.

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    1. You've got a powerful nose!

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    2. You make me laugh, happy easter.

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  10. Holy moly, I went to look at their online listing -- Cistus has so many varieties of this plant, which one is yours? I assumed I didn't have space for one, since the Chinese Garden M. laevifolia is gigantic, but now I see there are smaller varieties... gorgeous, thanks for sharing! -Julie

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    1. I should have been more forthcoming about my inability to tell you exactly which one this is. My friend who gave me this plant couldn't identify which form it is so I just kind of shot somewhere in the middle. My other plants (the ones that are not yet blooming) are the smaller varieties like: http://plantlust.com/plants/magnolia-laevifolia-snowbird/

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  11. I've been seeing this everywhere I look lately (seems to be a message from the universe) and you just clinched the deal.

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  12. Very pretty! It appears that there's a 6' variety suitable to my zone - I may have to mail order one someday. I'd enjoy actually being able to see the flower on a Magnolia up close - viewing the flowers on our Magnolia (probably grandiflora) involves neckstrain (or a ladder).

    I'm taking a pass this week on the plant favorite's post. I've got so much to do right now my eyes are crossed (which makes it difficult to focus a camera).

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    1. You're right, having the flowers so close is a definite bonus, and I hope you get a lot done this week (in the garden I'm assuming?)

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  13. Ours was growing sideways so gave it a trim, only to realise shortly after that we practically trimmed off all of this springs flowers, ouch! I'll relish pics of yours instead!

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    1. Oh man! My first plant has an odd form, sort of shooting out sideways and almost dead after being placed in a bad spot. Because I'm a dork I replanted it right next to my second plant which was very upright, thinking they'd make a nice mass together. We'll see...

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  14. I love the fragrance of all white flowers, basically, so I'm trying to imagine that. Yummy! I should have been a Sphinx moth. My favorite plant pick of the week is also fragrant, and white, Daphne tangutica,

    http://weedingonthewildside.blogspot.com/2014/04/favorite-plant-pick-of-week-april-182014.html

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  15. I like this one, very waxy and more delicate than my favorite that sort-of-tolerates it here, or a little more up in Abq (M. grandoflora). What you might name a girl if you had one...hilarious, not to mention what you would have named a child, if a boy!!!

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    1. See how lucky my "could have been" kids are? And just think of the pant sales I'd drag them too...

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  16. I love Magnolia laevifolia. I had some rooted cuttings. Sadly they didn't survive the journey to Washington. Guess I'll have to get one whenever I make it to Cistus. Darn. lol.

    I also have cuttings of a gorgeous hybrid between M. laevifolia and M. foveolata, which has even more of that gorgeous golden/copper fuzz. They did survive the trip and I'm hopeful that I'll get a few to root.

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  17. I agree with you--I have Magnolia madness, too, and they're just starting to bloom here in the upper Midwest. They seem larger than life--like symbols of a more perfect world (OK, now maybe I'm overreacting a bit). So, even though I don't have Magnolias in my garden, they're probably my favorite plants in the area right now. Swoon ...

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  18. This is so funny - I saw this intriguing plant sitting on a table at work, labeled Michelia yunnanensis. Didn't know what it was, so I looked it up, and learned it's synonymous with Magnolia laevifolia - which led me to your post. Like you, I'm totally smitten, so it is coming home with me. I'm very excited about this new find!!! Speaking of mother/daughter relationships - it will get an honorary spot underneath my giant Magnolia. And, I might just call it Maggie!

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