Tag Archives: Manchu Fan

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 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