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.
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.
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.