Tag Archives: New Zealand magnolias

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.

Tikorangi Diary: Thursday August 18

The lovely blue Lachenalia glaucina

The lovely blue Lachenalia glaucina

The coldest spell of winter weather we can remember still continues. While Mark was entranced by the unbelievable event of snow falling here on Monday, there is no doubt that the unusual experience of a major hailstorm followed by an exceptionally heavy frost, culminating in snow and a second frost this week has knocked the early magnolia display. Magnolia Lanarth has been particularly badly hit and we may just have to look back to previous years to remind ourselves of how fantastic it usually is. (Check out the Magnolia Diary I kept two years ago). Usually we are peaking with the first flush of magnolias in bloom around now and we have an unsurpassed display of red flowered types at this time. Not yet. Many of the new cultivars set flower buds down the stem so will open fresh blooms but it appears that we will be particularly grateful for the second peak we get in early September with the mid season varieties, including the magnificent Iolanthe.

With the threat of frost, I have upon a couple of occasions rushed out with sheets of newspaper to cover the planting of Lachenalia glaucina that we have in the open. Sheets of newspaper work because if they blow off in the night, it means we have sufficient wind to disperse the frost. We grow a wide range of lachenalia in the garden to give us flowers over many months and only a few are vulnerable to cold temperatures in our conditions – glaucina is one. It is a lovely thing and for the first time in years, we have pots of it for sale ($10). They are only just starting to put up their flower spikes so I had to resort to a photo from previous years. Lachenalias come in blues, lilac, pink, red, yellow, orange, green, white and various colour mixes – we have available for purchase the red bulbifera, white contaminata, blue glaucina, yellow reflexa hybrid and an odd, predominantly green form of aloides.

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

Winter? Who says it is still winter? Tikorangi Notes: August 4, 2011

The first flowers opening on Magnolia Felix Jury this morning

The first flowers opening on Magnolia Felix Jury this morning

After a bitter cold couple of days last week and a frost which has done a relatively alarming amount of damage, this week it seems as if spring has arrived with the start of August. The sky is blue, there is enough warmth in the sun to see our Lloyd make his appearance in shorts (neither Mark nor I are that hardy) and the magnolias are opening.

We advertise that the garden is open from the start of August, but if you want to see the magnolias at their best, keep watching here (or follow us on facebook.com/thejurygarden). We are picking that the first flush of magnolias will peak in about a fortnight. We usually get two peak flowerings here – the early ones which are heavily dominated by the best reds and then a few weeks later, the mid season varieties in early September. Vulcan is currently flowering, Black Tulip is just opening and we have the first few flowers on Felix Jury which just keeps on getting better every year.

In plant sales this week, we look at Black Tulip and at camellia hedging options. We were both amused and quietly chuffed to learn from a garden article in The Telegraph that Mark’s Magnolia Black Tulip had been presented to the Queen last year. Henceforth, we shall refer to it as a magnolia fit for a queen. It was quite a gratifying Telegraph article really, with high praise for Mark’s new Fairy Magnolia Blush which is just becoming available in the UK.