Tag Archives: Burgundy Star

Magnolia Diary 11, 9 September 2009

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Magnolia Serene, the last of Felix's selections to flower each season

Magnolia Serene, the last of Felix's selections to flower each season

Our magic spring has continued with no wind. A magnolia flowering season with a bad weather factor of only two short lived storms is a good season here. Though I am told that in the south of the province, a series of severe frosts have taken out most of the season’s display. In the deciduous magnolias, Burgundy Star flowers on and is still looking good whereas Felix’s series (Iolanthe et al) are now past their peak. Iolanthe will continue on for weeks yet, but not in her full glory. Serene is still opening. This is one variety that we have been surprised has not had more recognition overseas. Good pink colour, flower form and size, flowers later but still on bare wood and a tidy, well behaved tree. Being liliiflora x Mark Jury, it has reasonable hardiness.

Lollipopped Fairy Magnolia Blush with Magnolia Iolanthe behind

Lollipopped Fairy Magnolia Blush with Magnolia Iolanthe behind

It is full on michelia season. Fairy Magnolia Blush continues in flower and the lollipop row on our frontage is looking good. They were planted in quite harsh conditions (compacted old driveway, in some cases) about five years ago but haven’t minded a bit. I give them a light clip twice a year to retain the shape but otherwise they are left entirely to their own devices.

Mark’s Honey Velvet is in full flower. This is a Magnolia dianica (syn: Michelia yunnanensis) selection and every nurseryman, woman and dog has their own selection made now, so easy is it to raise seed. All we can say about Honey Velvet is that it has a honey cream coloured flower (rather than white) of good size, wonderful bud set, longer flowering season than some and good dark foliage. And it does not appear to defoliate in a cold, wet spring as some of the dianicas do. Other than that, we can’t get too excited about what is just a species selection.

Honey Velvet, Mark's dianica selection

Honey Velvet, Mark's dianica selection

We can and do get excited about the michelia breeding programme and the increasing range of deeper flower colour and size we are starting to see as Mark continues down the track of ever more complex downstream crosses. We can see real progress here but that, alas, is all we can say publicly. It was a bit of a red letter day here yesterday as Mark decided that he was happy to give the go ahead on another deciduous magnolia. Mark has only ever named three magnolias in a breeding programme which has built on his father’s work and thus spans close to five decades now with many hundreds of magnolia plants raised. So to make the decision on a fourth one is no light matter. It is still a long haul from here through final trialling and production before it ever gets anywhere near the marketplace but all we will say officially is that this one is not red.

Magnolia diary 10, 7 September 2009

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We are trying to decide whether the magnolia flowering this year has been a little earlier or whether we have been wrong in the past when we talk about peaking in the first week of September. It is an open verdict but certainly our early reds peak in July and August. While we still have plenty in flower, the best has now passed for 2009. Leonard Messel and our white stellata flower on. While they lack any substance in flower form, they certainly make up for it in prolonged flowering and there is charm in their spidery simplicity.

Lotus, the unsung hero in the big white class

Lotus, the unsung hero in the big white class

Even the nursery plants of Lotus have flowered this year

Even the nursery plants of Lotus have flowered this year

Burgundy Star continues to look fantastic in our carpark area. On the tree, it certainly looks the purest red of any of our red varieties so far. But it is the whites we have been looking at in recent days. Manchu Fan flowers on and, for our money, is unsurpassed as the best performing white goblet type for small gardens. Mark went through the Esplanade Gardens in Palmerston North (about three hours drive south from us) last week and Manchu Fan looked equally good there. Manchu Fan is an American hybrid from Todd Gresham. But for larger gardens, it is Lotus that we have been having a second look at in the whites. It looked particularly good in the Esplanade too and it has been superb in our park. We have even had nursery plants setting good flowers this year. Lotus is rather the unsung sister of Felix’s series of lennei alba x Mark Jury hybrids, coming in behind Milky Way and Athene. We didn’t promote it as enthusiastically because while it has a perfect flower form, we thought it took longer to settle in to flowering and considered Milky Way to be a better commercial plant. Now we are thinking that we have underestimated Lotus and it is a quiet achiever that can hold its own in the big white class.

Mark calls it the Fab Ab series in our North Garden

Mark calls it the Fab Ab series in our North Garden

The current overall winner in the big white class are the seedlings in our North Garden that Mark has started referring to as the Fab Ab series. I am not sure that I wish to be immortalised as Fab Ab but we are certainly having another look at these big bold whites which are performing well year in and year out.

Magnolia Diary 9, 1 September 2009

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Iolanthe yesterday morning after the storm - the petal drop was prodigious

Iolanthe yesterday morning after the storm - the petal drop was prodigious

Another fierce storm here two nights ago sorted out the durable magnolias from the fly by nighters. Poor old Mark Jury has gone for the year. He only looked sensational for a week. But his progeny are faring better. It is pretty remarkable how much petal drop we can get from Iolanthe and still have a tree full of flowers. The winds blew the petals over 40 metres away. These are short, sharp incidents of storms which last a few hours only but the strong winds and torrential rain certainly causes damage to magnolia blooms. Viewed from a distance, Felix Jury looks great but seen close up, there is quite a bit of damage and bruising and it is the same story on Iolanthe, Milky Way, Lotus and Athene. Cultivars which flower down the stems (as opposed to the short lived stars which set flower buds only on the tips so there is one mass flowering and then it is over) extend the season and there is a second chance to open undamaged blooms. Our white stellata is bravely flowering on through all conditions. Suishoren can blow apart rather easily whereas Manchu Fan takes pretty well all the bad weather in its stride.

Burgundy Star opening its flowers

Burgundy Star opening its flowers

Burgundy Star is the last of our reds to open and the original plant in our carpark is nowhere near to peaking yet. It is a very dark red and on the tree appears to have lost much of the magenta tone which can dominate the other reds. Mark is still hoping that he will get a good plant which is pure red (and we have some hopeful candidates on the track) but in the meantime Burgundy Star makes a very deep red pillar. It being three quarter liliiflora nigra, we are hopeful it may have more hardiness than some of our other selections.

The Snow Flurry series flower on

The Snow Flurry series flower on

Serene is the last flagship magnolia to flower here and is just opening the first flowers. None of the American yellows are open yet, but these mostly flower too late for us and are breaking into leaf at the same time. The doltsopa hybrid Snow Flurry series of michelias flower on and are wonderfully rewarding. The season on the michelias lasts considerably longer and we have many to follow. Alas we have to be very circumspect about what we show of new breeding lest it cut across the chance to patent later so this diary will not be showing the flowerings which make us most excited here.

Magnolia Diary number 6, 23 August 2009

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The view from the corner today

The view from the corner today

Winter may have struck early and cold here this year, but at the other end of the season a magical spring has arrived early. With no wind and fine sunny days, temperatures are now reaching up to 18 degrees celsius and the flowering is terrific. The early campbelliis have been and gone, as has Lanarth, Vulcan is just past its peak, sprengeri diva is flopping, sargentiana robusta and Sweetheart are at their peak. Felix Jury looks fantastic as does Black Tulip. The soulangeanas and mid season hybrids are all opening, including our newest release, Burgundy Star.

Mark Jury - first flowers this season

Mark Jury – first flowers this season

Felix Jury’s main output using the magnolia he named Mark Jury are all in the early stages of opening, as is Mark. Manchu Fan is opening – this hybrid performs really well here for us in the reliable, smaller growing white goblet class. Ruby, planted next to Manchu, is pretty ho hum here, as is Rustica Rubra. But then we tend to prefer solid colour in our magnolia flowers, rather than the pale insides to petals and that is just a matter of taste.

Starwars is opening on our roadside boundary (our road verges are astonishingly beautiful at this time of the year). Starwars was bred by the late Os Blumhardt and we were enormously impressed with how good it looked in the UK and Europe. In fact we wished we could claim it as ours. But here it is best in its bud stage. While it flowers very well, the tree is a rather large grower and the flowers lack good form when fully open and the petals lack substance. It was far more a stand-out plant in Europe than it is here.

The also-rans can be as impressive as any named variety on their day, and if they aren’t they get chainsawed out PDQ. You can’t name everything and to get a magnolia on the market means there are many (very many) reject seedlings. We keep chuckling at Baby Tulip which is basically Black Tulip shrunk down in size to be a shrubby stellata type of bush covered in baby dark tulip flowers. It is not good enough to name and release, but it is a little cutie which is a contrast to the enormous flowers opening on the likes of Iolanthe, Atlas and Felix Jury.

Referred to here as Baby Tulip

Referred to here as Baby Tulip

Magnolia Diary number 4, 16 August, 2009

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Magnolia Lanarth - now past its best

Magnolia Lanarth - now past its best

One night of rain and Magnolia Lanarth is in decline for the season. Passing over. We don’t mind that Lanarth looks a picture of perfection for such a short time but we can understand that it is a problem for people who live on small sections and who prefer prolonged flowering.

sprengeri diva - great from a distance

sprengeri diva - great from a distance

Campbellii has peaked too but in front of our campbellii tree, Sweetheart (a Caerhays Belle seedling raised from a Ron Gordon plant and named by Peter Cave) is just opening and is very much pretty in pink. Sargentiana robusta and various stellatas are also opening. Sprengeri diva is in full flower and looks great from afar, but floppy and a tad scruffy when viewed close up. We need more substance in blooms in our conditions with wind and heavy rain.

Michelia doltsopa is flowering around the district. The form in our park was named and released by Peter Cave as Rusty but we have never sold it. Quite simply, we think it is too large. Sure, our plant is only around 10 metres tall – but it is a good 20 metres wide. By my maths, that means that Rusty takes up around 300 square metres of land area. That is a large plant growing from a central trunk and not suckering.

We intercepted the neighbours out sniffing on a morning amble yesterday (and diverted them to coffee). All Mark’s doltsopa hybrids are coming into flower and indeed the fragrance is delicious from the road as well as in our garden. The neighbours were wanting the full on scented experience, having detected it even while driving home.

Fairy Magnolia Blush

Fairy Magnolia Blush

For the domestic garden, Mark’s first michelia hybrid to be released is opening its flowers. Fairy Magnolia Blush is reasonably compact (and clips well) with distinctive pinky purple flowers of reasonably large size. This cultivar is on the NZ market and will become available overseas in the next few years.

The first flowers on Burgundy Star. Doltsopa seedlings behind.

The first flowers on Burgundy Star. Doltsopa seedlings behind.

The row of stock plants of Mark’s Burgundy Star are opening their first flowers though the original plant in our carpark is hardly showing colour. In our opinion, in the proper reds Burgundy Star takes the cake so far.