Field of Science

Some of you may know that TPP is a bit nuts when it comes to Magnolias or other magnoliids.  This was a tough winter and the polar vortex brought in a blast of very cold air and until plants leaf out and/or bloom you don't know the extent of damage.  Most of TPP's plants look OK. So far the freezing damage seems limited to an upright growing Cephalotaxus (plum yew), a not at all hardy hybrid magnolia, and an Ashe magnolia a long ways from it's home in the pan handle of Florida (what do you expect?).  The latter may still sprout new shoots from a well-mulched base.  Around here star magnolias are the earliest, and the blooms often freeze.  TPP's is planted in a cool, shady place (probably to shady), but that holds back flowering just a few days which is often just enough.  Presently Magnolia loebneri 'Leonard Messel', known for its frost tolerance, is earliest (one parent of this hybrid is a star magnolia and the other is M. kobus.).  Just a day or two later and the willow-leafed Magnolia salicifolia, opens.  The flowers are generally a little smaller in diameter than star magnolias, and with fewer, wider tepals, and they have a lovely fragrance.  Most of you have never seen this species as it isn't in the trade and has to grow to tree size to really flower well.  TPP was patient, and now his tree looks lovely.  Loebneri also looks a bit like a star magnolia, except it's tepals are pink on the outside especially this variety.

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