THE JURY MAGNOLIAS
With time, it is clear that the magnolias are what will remain most strongly associated with the Jury name even though the number released is small. Felix only named and released eight different cultivars. Mark is even more conservative and despite raising and flowering many hundreds, he has only named and released four new different cultivars. His newest variety, Honey Tulip is going on release this year.
The magnolias at Tikorangi start to flower in very early July with Magnolia Vulcan and campbellii. The main flowering continues through until Serene finishes in early October. The red flowered hybrids peak during July and August while the overall best display of most magnolias is usually in the first two weeks of September. As the magnolia trees gain in stature, the flower display goes from strength to strength and is simply remarkable.
Of all flowering trees, deciduous magnolias rank amongst the aristocrats. Felix Jury began hybridising with magnolias in the early 1960s. His quest was to create campbellii type cultivars which would flower at a far younger age and without the potentially overwhelming size of campbellii. He was also keen to bring in more colour intensity which he achieved with his Magnolia Vulcan.
The original Magnolia Iolanthe is a dominant feature in the garden at Tikorangi, situated alongside the drive to the house. Felix heeled in a number of his unflowered magnolia hybrids in his vegetable garden, intending to plant them out around his local township of Waitara. Iolanthe proceeded to flower and even with that first flowering, was so impressive that it has remained in the old vegetable garden ever since. After fifty years, Mark is admitting defeat and moving the vegetables as the shade from the tree grows. Iolanthe flowers consistently and prolifically every year without fail and is now a tree of some stature – around 10 metres high and 7 metres wide. It shows the longest flowering season of any of the magnolias at Tikorangi as it flowers down the stem.
Vulcan was the true colour break in Felix’s magnolias and probably his greatest source of pride. The campbellii type flower is a deep burgundy red with no white at all. However, it has had a chequered history in cooler climates where the colour can bleach out of the flowers. It appears to settle to good flowering in areas which have a warm summer even if their winter temperatures are low but is a little more problematic where summers and cool and winters cold.
Felix’s secret weapon in his early magnolia breeding was a cultivar which he named “Mark Jury” after his youngest son. This plant was originally imported from Hilliers in the United Kingdom as “Lanarth” in the 1950s. It took some years to flower but when it did, it was clearly not “Lanarth”. Inquiries from Hilliers revealed that it was seedling and is most likely to be crossed with sargentiana robusta. While “Mark Jury” is a fine tree with a magnificent flower in its own right, it also proved to be a splendid breeder plant, giving Felix outstanding results in his hybridising.
Other magnolias of note in the garden at Tikorangi are enormous specimens of Lanarth, nitida, sargentiana robusta, Mangletia insignis and Michelia doltsopa “Rusty” along with smaller plants of many others.
The breeding programme with deciduous magnolias continues at Tikorangi in the hands of Mark Jury who has planted out many specimens of his own breeding and continues the long process of evaluation. It takes up to 20 years from the initial cross to select, trial, evaluate and then build up a new variety for release. The work of Mark Jury and, by implication that of his late father, Felix, was recognised in 2003 with the presentation of the Todd Gresham Award by the International Magnolia Society.
Apollo (probably liliiflora nigra hybrid x Lanarth) Felix Jury hybrid. Exceptionally free flowering. Early flowers can be deep violet with paler inner petal, later in the season flowers are a good deep lilac pink. Very large star-shaped flower around 25 to to 30cm across with relatively narrow petals. Spreading and tends to be multi trunked. Mid to late season flowering. 5 metres.
Athene (Lennei alba x Mark Jury) Felix Jury hybrid. Very large cup and saucer flower with heavy textured petals. Bicolour – ivory white with unusual violet pink base. Floriferous from an early age. Upright tree. Mid season flowering. 5 metres.
Atlas (Lennei x Mark Jury) Felix Jury hybrid and one of the largest magnolia flower in the world – blooms up to 35cm across and petals 15cm wide in lilac pink. Spectacular but needs good shelter. Mid season flowering. 5 metres.
Black Tulip (Vulcan x.) Mark Jury hybrid. Heavy textured black red blooms perch, looking like dark tulips. Flowers are cups to 15cm across, on a smaller growing tree. More wind tolerant than looser types of flowers and compact enough for most gardens. Better specimen tree viewed close up than landscape tree. First flowers on young trees may not be true to colour and size. Plant Breeders Rights apply. Mid season flowering. 3.5 metres.
Burgundy Star (liliiflora nigra x Vulcan) Mark Jury’s latest release. Claret red large blooms up to 25cm across in spring. Prolonged flowering season. Star shaped flowers but much larger, heavier textured and strongly coloured than classic star magnolias. Distinctly narrow columnar growth habit makes this an ideal tree for courtyards, driveways, road verges and any area where size and shading can cause problems. Being three parts liliiflora, this cultivar may have more hardiness than other Jury hybrids. Plant Breeders Rights applied for internationally. 5m high by 1.5m wide.
Felix Jury (Atlas x Vulcan) 5m Mid. Mark’s other recently released magnolia, named for his late father. Huge leaves and huge flowers unequalled for size, substance and colour – often opening red and paling to a deep rosy pink, up to 30cm across. Smaller growing pyramidal tree which displays its flowers well. Plant Breeders Rights apply. Mid season. 5 metres. This cultivar is the realisation of its namesake’s ambition – a large campbelli flower form with deep colour on a smaller growing plant which flowers from a young age. Fortunately, Felix lived to see this cultivar of Mark’s flower.
Honey Tulip Our newest release, only Mark’s fourth deciduous magnolia to be named out of the many hundreds he has raised, is Honey Tulip™, a golden honey version of Black Tulip. Given the somewhat floppy nature of most yellow magnolias with their soft petals and tendency to become paler as the flowering season progresses, we think Honey Tulip represents an advance in flower form, petal substance and retention of its colour intensity through the season. In New Zealand, where most yellow magnolias flower at the same time as they come into leaf, it is to Honey Tulip’s credit that it flowers on bare wood. Trials suggest that it will remain a smaller growing tree.
Iolanthe (Lenneii x Mark Jury) Felix Jury hybrid and rated by Sir Peter Smither as one of the top six cultivars available internationally. Campbellii type, with very large lavender pink and cream blooms up to 28cm across. Flowers at an early age and over a prolonged period as it flowers down the stem. Mid season. 5 metres
Lotus (Mark Jury x Lennei alba) Felix Jury hybrid. Large pure cream lotus-like flowers. Extremely beautiful but takes longer to settle into consistent blooming than similar Jury hybrids. Upright, pyramidal tree. Mid season. 5 metres.
Milky Way (Lennei alba x Mark Jury) 5m Mid. Felix Jury hybrid. Overall display is of a white magnolia although blooms have a soft pink base. Large, heavy textured bloom. Floriferous and a juvenile bloomer. Strong grower. Mid season. 6 metres. Milky Way appears to have been one of the successful performers in the UK over time.
Serene (liliflora x Mark Jury) 6m Late. Felix Jury hybrid. Very distinctive and the last of the season to flower. Large bowl-shaped blooms in unusual bright rose colour, all held upright. Attractive upright, pyramid shape. Flowers as a young plant. Rather like a late flowering Sir Charles Raffills. 6 metres
Vulcan (Liliiflora hybrid x Lanarth) 4m Early. Felix Jury hybrid and a true break in the campbellii type flowers. Deep portwine red and of good size. Smaller growing tree, flowers at an early age. Allow a couple of years to develop to true colour, size and form. Plant Breeders Rights apply in New Zealand and Australia. Early season. 4 metres.