Posted by: Christine | April 30, 2012

In Praise of Magnolias

It’s the last day of April and the first sunny day for ages. We have had heavy rain, winds and cold nights. Last week there was a tornado in Rugby, which caused a bit of damage, but not in our area. In a way I was quite glad to be stuck indoors, as I have been preparing the transcriptions of Newbold upon Avon parish registers for publication. I have nearly finished that job and I will talk about that another time, but I have a bit of spare time to catch up with blogging about the garden.

The amount of rain has caused a lot of growth – plants and trees are rushing into leaf, but the cold nights have caused any flowers already out to continue longer than usual. We have had pots of Narcissus in flower for nearly a month. The other flowers that have hung on are the Magnolias.

These are one of my favourite flowers and their flowering is one of the events I wait for every year. Perhaps it is because they are (usually) so fleeting, and they come just at that point in spring when there might be a sudden frost. One day you might see a large tree covered in white or pink flowers; the next day they have all gone brown and that’s it until next year. Amazing how that slight change of colour from pink to brown can make such a dramatic change.

We have two Magnolia trees in the garden. They are fairly sheltered and don’t get the early sun and so are usually not affected too much if they catch any frost. The first out is Magnolia Stellata, which looked pretty as the Willow tree came  into leaf around it.

Magnolia Stellata

Magnolia Soulangeana, with Stellata behind

The other is (I think) Magnolia Soulangeana; what I think of as a proper Magnolia and the one most commonly seen in gardens. This year it got a bit a browning on the outside of the buds but this didn’t stop it flowering. It started at the end of March and I was able to enjoy it for a few days before the rain started. My husband managed to knock off a branch of buds while mowing the lawn, so we had that indoors, where it came into full flower and we could enjoy it for a bit longer.

Magnolia Soulangeana indoors

Some of the later flowers have survived the weather and are out now – a month later.  

And now I see that another favourite flower, the  bluebells are starting to come out!

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