The book sat on top of the "read" pile next to the sofa for months. All spring and summer it seemed too decadent to page through such a lush, bloom-filled book — after all I had my garden to play in! I saved it until fall. Then I got busy...then winter happened...over and over and over again. Finally, during one of our ice-storms, I picked it up and quickly got lost in the pages. Just between you and me I started fantasizing about what Magnolia(s) I would plant if space were to suddenly open up in the garden because of the ice damage (there may even be a list).
So as I've written before, I have a serious case of Magnolia lust. I would plant a Magnolia forest if I had the space. Instead I have just two, Magnolia macrophylla, with the largest flowers and foliage...
And Magnolia laevifolia, with the smallest.
Thanks to reading the book I now know there are Magnolia macrophylla "used to great effect on the High Line in New York City" (gives me another reason to visit) and that it's native to "Ohio and Kentucky south to Georgia and west to Arkansas and Louisiana." Magnolia laevifolia (the garden rock-star formerly known as Michelia yunnanensis and Magnolia dianica) comes from China.
The Plant Lover's Guide to Magnolias is part of a series from Timber Press, each focusing on a particular kind of plant. So far there are twelve: Geraniums, Primulas, Clematis, Asters, Epimediums, Ferns, Tulips, Snowdrops, Dahlias, Salvias, Sedums, and of course Magnolias. The author of this book, Andrew Bunting, is the assistant director of the Chicago Botanical Garden — but it was during his 26 years at Scott Arboretum, of Swarthmore College, that his "passion for the genus really exploded."
In the "Designing with Magnolias" section of the book (other sections include Why I Love Magnolias, Understanding Magnolias, 146 Magnolias in the Garden, and Growing and Propagating) there are handy lists of Magnolias by flowering times ("Depending on the cultivar or species, and the area of the world where you live, you can find a magnolia in flower every month of the year"...tempting if you have the space, no?), and later for fragrance. This beauty, Magnolia foveolata 'Shibamichi', is evergreen and said to smell of canned pears...
|Magnolia foveolata 'Shibamichi' photo credit Richard Figlar — taken from The Plant Lover’s Guide to Magnolias© Copyright 2016 by Andrew Bunting. All rights reserved. Published by Timber Press, Portland, OR. Used by permission of the publisher.|
This "relatively new evergreen Asian species," Magnolia yuyuanensis, shows up on a list of good choices for specimen trees...
|Magnolia yuyuanensis photo credit Andrew Bunting — taken from The Plant Lover’s Guide to Magnolias© Copyright 2016 by Andrew Bunting. All rights reserved. Published by Timber Press, Portland, OR. Used by permission of the publisher.|
There are also lists of evergreen Magnolias for small spaces, those good for hedges or screening, tight spaces, those with attractive fruit, and on and on. But of course it's not just a book of lists! The lists are set apart from the informative (and easy to read) text in high-lighted boxes. Many reference-type books these days are eclipsed by the sheer volume of information available on the internet — but to find that data you need to know what your looking for. Picking up this book you're holding in your hands a wealth of useful information on Magnolias, many of which you've probably never even heard of.
In the section "146 Magnolias for the garden," you get detailed pages like this one on Magnolia 'Black Tulip' (on my lust list, by the way)...I love having all that info right there with a photo and being able to page back and forth and compare sizes, flowering times, and whether or not they're evergreen.
|Taken from The Plant Lover’s Guide to Magnolias© Copyright 2016 by Andrew Bunting. All rights reserved. Published by Timber Press, Portland, OR. Used by permission of the publisher.|
The book wraps-up with a list of "Places to Buy" (Oregon represents with five sources listed, including Cistus Nursery and Gossler Farms) and another of "Where to See" — gardens and arboretums around the world, ones that have a sizable Magnolia collection. On the list is our local Hoyt Arboretum, the first place I ever laid eyes on the massive leaves of M. macrophylla. I am thrilled to add this book to my library and wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who has a soft spot for these gorgeous trees and wants to learn more about them.
Here's something you may not have known...Hardy Plant Society of Oregon members and Pacific Horticultural Society members both get 35% off the price all books from Timber Press, plus all purchases over $50 ship free. Kinda makes you want to be come a member doesn't it?
Weather Diary, February 1: Hi 41, Low 35/ Precip .01
All material © 2009-2017 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude