Friday, July 18, 2008

Sweet Bay Magnolia

If you love flowering trees, why limit yourself to the spring blooming varieties? This lovely sweet bay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana) flowers in my zone (6b) in July. It blossoms over long period with fragrant, creamy white flowers. The leaves are beautiful green with grayish white underside that is wonderful in the wind.

The only thing that I haven't liked is that although it is evergreen, by the end of the winter it looks very battered until new leaves push out in late spring. If our climate were a bit warmer the leaves would come through the winter in better condition; or, if our climate was colder the sweet bay magnolia would be deciduous. This spring I moved this magnolia from a more prominent location in the Walled Garden to a less prominent whiskey barrel in the back of the children's playground.

The sweet bay is also sometimes called the swamp magnolia because as well as growing in ordinary garden soil it also grows well in wet soils or swampy areas. It also tolerates shade.


Katarina i Kullavik said...

It's a beauty! Flowering trees and shrubs are very useful in the garden - they take care of themselves, so to speak and we are left to admire their lovely flowers.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I have a friend that has one of these gorgeous magnoilas. I just love it too. I am always snipping one of her blossoms to bring home. Hers is fairly well protected in a small neighborhood so the leaves don't look too bad on hers during winter. At least I haven't noticed it as an eyesore before. I also like the texture of the seed pods with the little red berries.

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