Plant Collector: Magnolia Serene

The very pink Magnolia Serene in full bloom

The very pink Magnolia Serene in full bloom

For us, Serene in full flower heralds the last chapter of the magnolia season each year. It is the latest and the last of the Jury magnolias to flower. It is also the pinkest. This is another of the series named by Felix Jury back in the early 1970s and the original tree now stands around six metres tall and is pyramidal in shape rather than spreading. In full flower, it is just a mass of large rosy pink bowl-shaped blooms.

001Being so late to flower, Serene is an excellent choice for people in colder areas or prone to late frosts. It also tends to miss the worst of the equinoctial winds. Cold conditions will make the plant adjust to blooming even later but Serene does get its flowers through before its foliage. We are picky here – we want deciduous magnolias to mass flower on bare stems before the new season’s leaves unfurl. When the leaves do come, they are a particularly good deep green and tidy in form so Serene stands out as a good summer foliage plant in a way in which few deciduous magnolias do. It will also set a flush of summer flowers which is bonus territory.
Serene was another of the series Felix bred using his wonder breeder parent, slightly embarrassingly named Magnolia Mark Jury. Its other parent is liliiflora.

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