Tag Archives: red flowered magnolias

Plant Collector: Magnolia Burgundy Star

Magnolia Burgundy Star in full glory

Magnolia Burgundy Star in full glory

It is perhaps not widely realised that New Zealand leads the world when it comes to red magnolias, both in terms of breeding them and in the intensity of colour we get. We put this down to a combination of soil conditions and light. What flowers with good rich colour here can look pretty washed out and murky at times in the UK and Europe. New Zealanders tend to take the red colours for granted while magnolia enthusiasts overseas turn green with envy.

This one is Burgundy Star. It forms a narrow pillar shaped tree, not wider than two metres maximum. Because of this shape (described as fastigiate), it makes a splendid feature where space is limited, such as beside driveways. It gives height without much width. The flowers are towards the stellata (or star) magnolias in form but much larger and with firmer petals so they don’t get as floppy. And red. The stellatas are predominantly white, sometimes tinged pink. Because it sets flower buds down the stem, the season is extended. Magnolias which only set buds on the tips have a big display and are then pretty much over for the season.

Any of the deep coloured magnolias look best when planted in a position where the flowers are viewed with the light shining from behind.

First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.

Tikorangi Notes: August 27, 2011

Magnolia sargentiana robusta came through last week's winter unscathed

Magnolia sargentiana robusta came through last week's winter unscathed

The reticulata camellias are in full bloom

The reticulata camellias are in full bloom

R. protistum var. giganteum "Pukeiti" - with the frosted version just visible behind

R. protistum var. giganteum "Pukeiti" - with the frosted version just visible behind

Tikorangi notes: August 27, 2011
Last week it snowed, followed by a frost in the coldest few days we can ever remember. This week it is indubitably spring. Certainly there is damage in the garden – many of the early magnolias and michelias did not appreciate it at all, though M. sargentiana robusta appears to have come through unscathed. The same cannot be said of the big-leafed rhododendrons. I was searching to find an undamaged bloom and Mark felt that one of my shots of an R. grande hybrid showed we could rename it as Hokey Pokey (a reference to a favourite NZ icecream which has streaks of butterscotch coloured candy throughout). The big leafs have gone the same way as Magnolia Lanarth – 2011 may be the least memorable flowering ever. The campanulata cherries are alive with native tui, the reticulata camellias are in peak flower, the lovely daffodils continue to flower in succession and, just to prove that even in frost and snow, our climate can’t be all that bad, a vireya rhododendron, R. konori, is flowering beautifully and completely untouched in the rose garden area.
The beautiful, fragrant and touchy vireya R. konori flowers on regardless

The beautiful, fragrant and touchy vireya R. konori flowers on regardless

Mark has been poddling about with his calanthe orchids while I am grooming the rockery. Winter pruning is complete (fruit trees, hydrangeas, roses, wisterias and the like). Now we are laying mulch on many of the garden beds – we favour our home made compost for this.
Our first garden visitors for the season have started arriving but if you want to see the magnolias at their peak this year, hold off for another week or two to allow more to come out. That said, Magnolias Felix Jury and Black Tulip are recovering well from the earlier ravages by the weather and there are some lovely flowers showing now.
Magnolia Black Tulip - for those who prefer a more understated size of flower

Magnolia Black Tulip - for those who prefer a more understated size of flower

Tikorangi Notes: June 19, 2011

Spring Festival is one of the prettiest in flower this week  though spring is still a way off here

Spring Festival is one of the prettiest in flower this week though spring is still a way off here

Tikorangi Notes: Sunday June 19, 2011

Our mild autumn continues though technically we are now well into winter. It may be wet but it is not generally cold. The ski fields inland and south seem to be getting nervous (and I am wondering whether the Christmas gift of a season lift pass to our snowboarding son was badly timed for the one season in a decade when the snows will be patchy and unpredictable) but it does mean that we are enjoying great gardening conditions. Except for last Friday which was cold (calm but cloudy and cold), daytime temperatures remain in the late teens and night temperatures are not dropping much below 10 degrees Celsius.

Lachenalia bulbifera, naturalised beneath a large pine tree

Lachenalia bulbifera, naturalised beneath a large pine tree

Magnolia Vulcan is opening its first blooms on the various plants we have around the property. Mid June is early. We usually expect peak flowering later in July. A hail storm last night damaged those early buds and blooms but there are plenty more to come which will be undamaged. The early lachenalias are open – red L. bulbifera, the yellow of Mark’s L. reflexa hybrids and the common L. aloides. The first of the snowdrops are in flower. We never get snow here but Galanthus S Arnott is wonderfully successful on our climate and there are few plants as pretty as the simple snowdrops. The sasanqua camellias are passing over and the japonicas and hybrids are taking over. Spring Festival is particularly pretty this week. With petal blight already hitting before many varieties have even opened, it is probably time to be a little more meticulous in recording which varieties show less damage and still put on a good show. Petal blight is probably here to stay. It will take breeding and selection to find a way past the ravages.

Just one new post this week – our Tikorangi Diary which records Mark’s unsuccessful efforts so far to extract olive oil with a zero carbon footprint and plans for our designated Citrus Grove.

We have been discussing our citrus trees here – somewhere around 20 different specimens which are very well established (as in some are probably around 50 years old now) and I have plans for a series of posts on growing fruit trees and the aim for self sufficiency and variety and how realistic this is in our climate.

The first blooms on Magnolia Vulcan were hit by hailstones last night

The first blooms on Magnolia Vulcan were hit by hailstones last night

Tikorangi Notes – a blue sky day in Taranaki

Magnolias Black Tulip and Felix Jury on a blue sky spring morning in Taranaki, Monday August 23, 2010

Magnolias Black Tulip and Felix Jury on a blue sky spring morning in Taranaki, Monday August 23, 2010

We tend to take our blue as blue skies for granted here, especially in mid winter or early spring as it is now. New Zealanders also tend to take red magnolias for granted, not realising that the sheer intensity of colour we can get here is unsurpassed elsewhere and that most of the breeding of red magnolias has taken place in this country – in fact much of the work was done in this very garden here – Jury Magnolias charts the journey.

Magnolia diary the first, 9 August 2009

Click to see all Magnolia diary entries

Click on the Magnolia diary logo above to see all diary entries

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.

M.campbellii and Mount Taranaki at Tikorangi

M.campbellii with Mount Taranaki beyond at Tikorangi The Jury Garden, Taranaki New Zealand.

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.

Early season flowers on Vulcan in our carpark

Early season flowers on Vulcan

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.

Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture (Inc.)

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.

Vireya rhododendrons

‘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.