Tag Archives: New Zealand magnolias

Tikorangi Notes: Friday 7 September, 2012

Just another unnamed seedling, as we say here

Just another unnamed seedling, as we say here

Latest posts:
1) Repeating plants throughout the garden – does this unify the garden? Maybe not….
2) Magnolia Burgundy Star – a useful fastigiate form and great red flowers.
3) Garden lore – a quote on colour from Edward Augustus Bowles, possibly even more relevant now than in 1914 when he wrote it. And this week’s handy hint on boiling water instead of weedkiller.

The mid season magnolias are simply magnificent. While there is an abundance of other seasonal colour in the garden – flowering cherries, spring bulbs left, right and centre, camellias, Kurume azaleas, hellebores, early rhododendrons, even humble little polys and prims – the magnolias hold centre stage. The early varieties have all been, done and gone now. The mids are at their peak, the late varieties are opening. If you have been planning a visit to see the magnolias, you might be wise not to leave it much longer past this weekend.

More Iolanthe

More Iolanthe

New post on Magnolia Diary.

Magnolia Mark Jury - what else could it be?

Magnolia Mark Jury – what else could it be?

Three years ago, I charted the magnolia flowering season here in a Magnolia Diary. Just posted is an update explaining why, despite raising hundreds of different magnolias over a period of 60 years here, we have only ever named eleven – eight of Felix Jury’s breeding and three of Mark’s (with a fourth in the pipeline). In the meantime, our magnolia display here goees from strength to strength, with both named varieties (our own, and others) and also-rans from the breeding programme.

Sweetheart is not one of ours, though we would be happy if it was

Sweetheart is not one of ours, though we would be happy if it was

Magnolia Diary 15 (but the first for 2012) August 26, 2012

It might as well be Felix, but it's not

It might as well be Felix, but it’s not

Baby Tulip - a small version of Black Tulip

Baby Tulip – a small version of Black Tulip

Magnolia time. Many are surprised to hear that Felix Jury only ever named eight magnolias. Mark has only named and released three so far (with a fourth in the pipeline) despite raising and trialling hundreds. Why so few? We are picky. With the benefit of hindsight, we would probably have released only seven of Felix’s eight. Atlas was named for flower size but really is not up to the quality of the others in terms of long term performance.

We can do plenty of ring-ins, generic copies, slight improvements or variations. But while roses and camellias are like buses (there will be another one along in a few minutes), we see magnolias as being for the long haul. They are nowhere near as easily hiffed out and replaced and most people can only fit one or two into their garden. To name something new means it must be a breakthrough, a major improvement on what is already available. It takes years to trial and select a new magnolia and we like to be very confident with our releases. We took another walk around this afternoon, looking at the lookalikes. At this early to mid season stage, it is still the stronger colours that dominate. I will update as the pales and whites come into full bloom.

Or how about Bambino Tulip?

Or how about Bambino Tulip?

It's not Black Tulip, but it might as well be

It’s not Black Tulip, but it might as well be


Genie to the left, our seedling to the right

Genie to the left, our seedling to the right

Ruby

Ruby

Our equivalent of Ruby

Our equivalent of Ruby

Lanarth sets the standard.  Is this significantly better? Probably not.

Lanarth sets the standard. Is this significantly better? Probably not.

Plenty of generic soulangeanas here

Plenty of generic soulangeanas here

Too much like Iolanthe

Too much like Iolanthe

But maybe there is a future in patio magnolias?

But maybe there is a future in patio magnolias?

Tikorangi Tui tui tui

Latest posts: Friday 17 August, 2012

1) Be bold with colour. White is not always right. Safe, but often dull.
2) The first a new series: Garden Lore. Quotes and hints – random and eclectic maybe, but I hope interesting and helpful.
3) Plant Collector this week is on pretty little Camellia Sweet Jane.
4) My first ever video on You Tube – two minutes of many tui in one of our campanulata cherry trees plus birdsong.

I figured yesterday, as I took these photos, that some (though fewer in number these days) favour floral wallpaper in their home. Here we have floral skypaper instead. Sometimes I worry that many of my magnolia photographs are taken from below, looking up to the sky whereas other people’s magnolia photos are taken looking down on the individual blooms. The reason is that so many of our magnolias are now achieving quite some stature so our close up view does tend to be looking upwards at them. But no matter which way you look at them, magnolias make a breathtakingly lovely display. We still have many which are just opening their first blooms or not even showing colour yet and we look forward to the season continuing right through September. Our early display, in full bloom now, is heavily dominated by the stronger coloured reds, purples and deepest pinks – the two photos here of unnamed seedlings – which we grow so well here. We appear to get deeper colours here than other parts of the world which is presumably related to soil conditions and to the quality of very clear, pure light we have. Mid and later season magnolias are more inclined to the pales and whites.

As a contrast to the candy pinks, I photographed the lachenalias and muscari (grape hyacinths) below which nestle in around the trunk of one of our old pine trees. The muscari evoke childhood memories for me. I admit that Lachenalia aloides is not my favourite lachenalia – they are a little garish, looking maybe as if they made from plastic and sold at a cheap store but they provide a cheerful splash of colour in a naturalised setting.

Tikorangi Notes, Friday 30 September, 2010

The ephemeral delight of the erythroniums in flower this week

The ephemeral delight of the erythroniums in flower this week

Latest Posts:
1) Magnolia Athene in all her glory in Plant Collector this week and gratitude for the mid season varieties.

2) New Zealand’s Native Trees by John Dawson and Rob Lucas. Thank you Craig Potton Publishing for not cutting corners, simplifying and dumbing down on the assumption that most of us have the mental capacity and experience of a child.

3) The differing agendas of gardeners, novices and designers (or why I am happy to accommodate plants with a scruffy period which includes deciduous plants and bulbs)

4) Grow it Yourself topic this week is Mark’s absolutely most favourite vegetable – sweetcorn.

5) Clearance special this week is Magnolia grandiflora Little Gem – a snip at $12 but very limited numbers.

6) In Praise of Plunging – a traditional technique from the UK which has its relevance here, in our conditions too.

The pink puffery of Magnolia Serene

The pink puffery of Magnolia Serene

I suggested to Mark that the start of a new year here was marked by the magnolias and early spring but he was pretty adamant that it is the snowdrops that herald the new beginning. The snowdrops have long finished, most of the narcissi are passing over and while the magnolia season continues, it is on the wane – the opening of Serene heralds the end of the season because it is the last of the major ones to flower for us. But temperatures are rising, the rhododendrons are opening and other new plants open every day. The trilliums are a triumph for us here. We are not natural trillium territory (bar two days this winter, we lack the winter chill they prefer) and have to choose planting situations carefully.

Showing off: the trilliums

Showing off: the trilliums

Each flower may be only three petals but when you get the deep red ones blooming with the light passing through, the effort is well worth it. The erythroniums are in full flower. If we don’t get torrential rain, we may get two or even three weeks of pleasure from these short-lived, dainty delights. The countdown to our annual garden festival at the end of October is on so the pressure is mounting.

In a rash moment, I agreed to present at the Waikato Home and Garden Show next Friday and Saturday. My main presentation is entitled “What Makes a Good Garden” (Friday at 12.30 and Saturday at 2.30) and I am also doing a presentation on our annual festival (styled the Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular this year but we will say no more about that, formerly known as the Taranaki Rhododendron and Garden Festival) at 6.30 on Friday and 4.30 on Saturday.

Plant Collector: Magnolia Athene

Magnolia Athene in her glory

Magnolia Athene in her glory


Thank goodness for the mid season magnolias this year. There we were, as usual, admiring the early season ones in flower when a once in a hundred year event hit here – snow followed by a killer frost in late August. The early bloomers did not like it one bit. But the next flush rose to the challenge and their flowering was unaffected. This one is Magnolia Athene, a particularly lovely variety with big ivory white flowers sporting a violet pink base. It is what is called a cup and saucer form. When open, the outer layer of petals drops a little to form the saucer, while the inner petals keep a tight cup form. Botanically, magnolias don’t actually have much in the way of petals, they have tepals which look like petals but that tends to confuse all but the most enthusiastic gardener.

Bred in the early 1960s, Athene is one of a small series from the late Felix Jury in his quest for new plants which would carry the good aspects of the classic campbellii magnolias but flower on young plants and not grow as large. It should flower within a year of planting out. The parents are magnolias lennei alba (which is a very tidy, smaller tree with pure cream flowers) and Mark Jury (which is a large growing tree with very large, heavy textured flowers in lilac tones). Athene was a significant advance on the parents and puts on a magnificent display with its bi-coloured blooms. It will eventually reach about 5 metres with an upright habit and the flowers are pleasantly scented.

Tikorangi Notes: Friday 16 September, 2011

Magnolia Athene in our park this week

Magnolia Athene in our park this week


Latest posts:

1) The yellow Camellia chrysantha – looking rather more spectacular in the photo than on the bush. Plant Collector.
2) Trees for small gardens – Abbie’s column.
3) In praise of Bok Choy (aka Pak Choi) (this weeks GIY).
4) Tikorangi Diary with effusive praise for Magnolia Iolanthe and a plaintive complaint about people who can not read the important notes on our website explaining repeatedly that we do not mailorder or courier plants.

Magnolia Iolanthe in all her magnificence this week

Magnolia Iolanthe in all her magnificence this week

Tikorangi Notes: Friday 16 September, 2011

While much of the country is in the grip of rugby world cup fever (save us should the All Blacks fail to deliver the silverware. Elections have been lost on less and the country may plunge into deep depression), it is magnolia time here. I read a colleague advocating planting magnolias at the bottom of a slope so you can look down on them but I disagree. I love looking up through them from below and I prefer my magnolias displayed against a blue sky rather than framed by other greenery. With some of our trees around 60 years old now, they have considerable stature. In fact the original plant of Iolanthe has a diameter of about 10 metres – that is a lot of Iolanthe on show. The other mid season magnolias – Athene, Lotus, Milky Way, Atlas and the like- are all opening and the coming week will be one of the highlights of our gardening year.