Seasonal observations of the Master Gardeners
- Author: Trisha Rose
Published on: February 7, 2013
The weather has turned grey again. Time to knuckle down to my books and get out of the garden. It was so delightful to enjoy that week or so of sun and mid-60's in the afternoon. Just started taking a Plant ID class a couple of weeks ago and now have my first group of leaves for my collection. My first group included Magnolia grandiflora, one of my favorite trees. Just hearing the word Magnolia reminds me of the South. I worked with people in North Carolina for a number of years and was able to travel to the Raleigh area a number of times over the course of 10 years. Besides getting to know a bunch of charming people, I got to appreciate many plants that grow so well in that climate, so different from the California I have lived in throughout my life. So many of the plants that need special care here, grow with abandon in the southern states with the humidity supporting a different palette. I would see the Magnolia trees in the manicured lawns with those enormous 8 to 12 inch cream colored fragrant flowers and I would swoon. Just too much beauty to behold. Now that I am studying this tree, I find that Magnolia grandiflora which is commonly called "Southern Magnolia" is so named for a good reason, it is native to the southern United States. There are a number of gardens at the universities and arboretums featuring these trees in the Raleigh area. This tree is so popular in the south it has been chosen as the State Tree of Mississippi, and the State Flower of Mississippi and Louisiana. The flower was also used as an emblem of the Confederate Army in the US Civil War. Well back to Solano. I recently found that the "Southern Magnolia" has adapted very nicely to the Glen Cove community in Vallejo, so much so that it has been used as a street tree with much success. Very nice to see this special tree bring beauty so close to home.