We were greatly amused to discover that Mark’s Magnolia Black Tulip was presented to the Queen last year. Yes, as in Queen Elizabeth of England. Apparently she likes magnolias. Sadly, we were not invited to the ceremony. It is coming into flower here now and you too can buy a magnolia fit for a queen. What is more, you get to meet Mark or me in person at the same time. Our trees on a sunny slope are coming into flower now, though it is still early in the magnolia season for us and peak display won’t be for another fortnight or so. Many of magnolia plants have flower buds so you can get the benefit of flowers immediately – the days when you had to wait a decade are long gone. Black Tulip is a splendid option for a feature tree to be viewed close up, so is ideal for smaller gardens. Because the flowers are so dark, it can meld in the bigger landscape where some of the larger, bolder flowered types will have more impact, but its perfect form certainly seems to appeal to people when they view it close up.
If you are after hedging, we have various options in camellias from small plants for small, low hedges to small plants for people with small budgets and patience, to instant hedges for those with larger budgets (they will still be cheaper than building a fence!). We have crops in the field (in other words we will dig to order) which are around five to six years old and ready for instant impact. Options include Mimosa Jury, Dreamboat, Apple Blossom Sun, Moon Moth, Roma Red and transnokoensis. These field grown plants are not listed under plant sales on the website – you will need to talk to us about them.
We are open for plant sales every Friday and Saturday (other days by appointment) and we have Eftpos here but we only sell to personal customers. Sorry, no mailorder. If you want to check what else we have available, check our Plant Sales
1) Clean and green in New Zealand? Not as much as we claim and, alas, not at all if you look at the common treatment of our rural road verges.
2) Digging and dividing clivias – one in the Outdoor Classroom series of step by step guides.
3) Mid winter photos – on our new Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/thejurygarden I have to admit, however, that I have not been out with the camera on the rain sodden days when we threaten to wash away and there have been rather a lot of those lately. We had a massive 237ml in June alone (or about 9½ inches for those still on imperial measurements) and we won’t be far off that in the first half of this month. Our winters can be wet. But the snowdrops don’t mind and it has only been the two hailstorms that have damaged the early magnolia blooms.
4) Nothing whatever to do with gardening (but I am guessing some readers also have other interests), I have just launched a separate website devoted to book reviews of a non gardening nature: www.runningfurs.com For some years, I have reviewed books, firstly for the Taranaki Daily News but these days for the Waikato Times. I have always had a particular interest in children’s books and in New Zealand fiction. I went back to the children’s books a few years ago because I thought we might be lucky enough to receive the gift of a grandchild at some time in our lives and our book collection could do with updating. There is no sign of any grandchildren any time soon, but I keep the best books and pass on the others. These reviews, along with a few on books for adults, did not sit with the gardening websites so I have not done anything with them before. But the advent of The Naughty Corner by Colin Thompson made me want to table these reviews for others – it is quite the funniest picture book I have read in a long time.
At this time of the season, it is all the dark magnolias coming into flower. The only other colours we have are the soft pink campbellii and one early pink and white seedling which has been left in situ because it provides a contrast to the wine red, purple and deep rosy colours coming out all around the property.
Black Tulip is opening more flowers every day. This one has caught us by surprise with its instant popularity in the market place. Mark named it because the flower, while not large, had such a lovely tulip form and very heavy, dark petals which gave it good weather hardiness. And it is never going to become an enormous tree. The original plant never throws a pale flower so we were disconcerted to see that pale flowers can appear on trees in other locations. While we accept the occurrence of both dark and light flowers on Lanarth, modern hybrids are expected to be uniform.
If you line up a Black Tulip flower beside a good Vulcan flower, there is not much difference in colour. What makes Black Tulip appear so dark on the tree is that the petals (or, more correctly, tepals) are so thick that no light can shine through.
We usually advise people to plant Black Tulip in locations where it is to be viewed close up. In the landscape, the flowers can be so dark and relatively small that they tend to meld into the environment whereas viewed close up, it has certainly captured the imagination of the public. It is being trialled as a street tree in New Zealand and we recommend it for driveways, lawn specimens or back of the flower border in home gardens. On a very recent visit, we were gratified to see it as a flagship plant for John Woods Nursery in the UK and to hear that it is performing better than Vulcan. It appears that the British public are as charmed by the perfect flowers as the New Zealand public and can see it fitting into smaller, modern gardens.
But on a larger property, our personal tastes lean to something more over the top and flamboyant which has maximum wow in the landscape – Felix Jury is opening its flowers.
On August 9, 2009, it would be fair to say that we are a week or two late starting a magnolia diary. M.campbellii is already in full flower down in our park. Our tree dates back to the mid 1950s and is one of the oldest magnolias we have here. It is set in front of distant Mount Taranaki, our near perfect iconic volcanic cone and the reason why the movie, The Last Samurai, was filmed locally. It is cheaper to film here than in Japan and our mountain is a reasonable ring-in for Mount Fuji (I have even encountered a film crew shooting a Japanese car commercial down our road!) In New Zealand, campbellii is the first to flower and at times it can be a close run thing to see if the leaves fall before the flowers open.
Magnolia Vulcan is opening its flowers. The tree in our carpark has maybe a dozen early flowers open but it is clearly warmer down the driveway where a Vulcan tree has many more flowers. The original tree, bred by Felix Jury, is in the neighbour’s property (formerly the Jury farm) and we no longer have access to monitor it. Vulcan was a true colour break in its day and opens remarkable wine coloured flowers in NZ and in Australia. However it is patchy at best in Europe and inclined to be disappointing in the UK. We rate it as a small tree here. The first flowers are always the deepest colour and the largest in size.
The original Lanarth in our park is a week into opening though not quite at its peak yet. It shows blooms in that beautiful, intense stained glass purple but also pale flowers at the same time. This tree dates back to the mid fifties and it took three attempts to import and successfully establish the genuine article. One of the early attempts, however, yielded up the Lanarth seedling subsequently named Mark Jury, which became the secret weapon in the early magnolia breeding programme here. Mark is not yet showing colour.
Magnolia Black Tulip in warmer positions on our property has opened its first flowers but the original tree has yet to show colour. We have the very first flower on Felix Jury opening. Along with M. campbellii, our reds are the earliest of the season.
Our winter this year has been colder than usual (visible frost on a number of occasions although we rarely drop below zero degrees celsius at night), drier than usual, not very windy but with our usual high winter light levels.
Mark Jury receives the Plant Raisers Award for 2007
Mark Jury is one of this country’s foremost breeders of ornamental plants, and in recent times he has received international recognition for his achievements.
Mark was born in 1951. He graduated from Massey University in 1974 with a BA in psychology, and could well be the only person with such a qualification in the NZ nursery trade. Early plans for a career in counselling changed, and he took time out to be a rock drummer (he still has his drum kit), to teach himself to draw and paint, and to make a living as a wood turner before deciding to set up a plant nursery on his father’s property at Tikorangi.
The late Felix Jury is one of the most esteemed plant breeders and horticulturists this country has produced. Felix was a farmer who took early retirement to garden and breed plants, and the numerous outstanding hybrids he produced are now internationally acclaimed. The nursery, however, is entirely Mark’s effort, one that he ‘built up from one wheelbarrow’. Contrary to popular belief, Felix never had a nursery.
Despite having no formal training in horticulture, Mark learned enormously by working alongside his father for 17 years. He also benefited greatly from having access to Felix’s plant material, and from being able to tap into the wealth of knowledge and experience that Felix freely shared.
His uncle Les Jury was also an early mentor, particularly in the breeding of camellias.
The nursery, however, has only ever been a means to earn a living for Mark, who claims he is not a dedicated nurseryman. Rather, it is plants and the garden that matter to him, and when breeding plants his quest is invariably to produce better garden subjects.
No new plant is ever released by Mark until he has full confidence in all its attributes. Trialling is an integral part of the breeding process, and new hybrids are grown in the field or the garden, as well as the nursery, to assess their performance over a number of years before they ever get put into production.
Following is a representative selection of hybrids bred by Mark Jury:
‘Fairy Blush’ is regarded by Mark as the best of his camellia hybrids currently on the market, followed by ‘Volunteer’. ‘Jury’s Pearl’, however, is the one which brings Mark most pleasure because it achieved what he was looking for; compact growth, abundant flowering over an extended period, healthy foliage, good flower form and an almost luminescent flower colour. He has named a number of others, including ‘Gay Buttons’, ‘Pearly Cascade’, ‘Topiary Pink’, and ‘Apple Blossom Sun’. Two promising new selections yet to be released are a compact and very free flowering red formal double, and a purple pompom flowered miniature.
‘Floral Sun’ is Mark’s pride and joy. When he told his wife Abbie that he was crossing Rhododendron sino nuttalli with R. ‘RW Rye’, she recalls quipping that he would probably get offspring which were a mass of tiny white flowers and no scent. Instead he did get the yellow colourings into the nuttalli trumpets, compact growth and nuttalli foliage. He has also named ‘Floral Gift’, ‘Meadow Lemon’ and ‘Platinum Ice’, and has various others under consideration. Mark specifically strives for healthier performance, resistance to thrips and where possible fragrance.
The new ‘Burgundy Star’ could prove to be the best Mark has produced. It ‘loses the purple tones’ of ‘Vulcan’ and ‘Black Tulip’ and is described as carrying a very large Magnolia liliifora type flower on a fastigiate tree. ‘Black Tulip’, however, is the cultivar that has caught the imagination of the market place, while ‘Felix Jury’ is his personal favourite. Mark thinks he may have exhausted what he can do with red flowered magnolias, but he has some pinks and whites under trial. In 2004 the International Magnolia Society conferred upon Mark the prestigious Todd Gresham Magnolia Award.
‘Jaffa’ and ‘Sweet Vanilla’ are regarded by Mark as probably the best cultivars he has yet named, although he has produced quite a few others. These include ‘Sherbet Rose’, ‘Peach Puff’, ‘Jellybean’, ‘Mango Sunset’, ‘Pink Jazz’. Sadly some of the others have already been dropped from production. Despite fairly rigorous trialling, when in production some are considered to be too vulnerable to root problems. ‘Festival Ruby’ is scheduled for release later this year for the 20th anniversary of the Taranaki Rhododendron Festival. Part of the vireya rhododendron breeding programme has focussed on trying to get full trusses reminiscent of the hardy rhododendrons, whilst also aiming for compact growth, fragrance and abundant flowering.
A range of unreleased new hybrids is currently generating great excitement and anticipation amongst those who have seen them. This series extends the colour range of the flowers, growth habits, foliage and flowering season. Mark is optimistic of a great future for these, seeing them fitting a market niche similar to camellias but without most of the problems such as camellia petal blight and yellowing of foliage. The first two cultivars from this series are scheduled for release next year.
‘Red Fountain’ is a hybrid produced by Felix, while Mark introduced it. The next generations of Mark’s cordylines are currently under development.
Dianella ‘Golden Chance’ (so-named because it was a chance discovery) seems to have entered the marketplace with ‘a bit of a whoosh’, somewhat to the surprise of Mark and Abbie.
Mark often ‘plays’ with other plants to produce even more high quality garden subjects. His Arisaema hybrids are regarded as particularly fetching, extending the colour range and holding their blooms above the foliage, but sadly they are unlikely to enter commerce. Unfortunately for gardeners, the same applies to a number of other plants that he ‘wields his paintbrush around’.
It is appropriate that the Institute recognises Mark Jury for his considerable contribution to amenity horticulture. He is a most worthy recipient of the Plant Raisers award.