Tag Archives: Sprengeri Diva

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

Magnolia Diary number 4, 16 August, 2009

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Magnolia Lanarth - now past its best

Magnolia Lanarth - now past its best

One night of rain and Magnolia Lanarth is in decline for the season. Passing over. We don’t mind that Lanarth looks a picture of perfection for such a short time but we can understand that it is a problem for people who live on small sections and who prefer prolonged flowering.

sprengeri diva - great from a distance

sprengeri diva - great from a distance

Campbellii has peaked too but in front of our campbellii tree, Sweetheart (a Caerhays Belle seedling raised from a Ron Gordon plant and named by Peter Cave) is just opening and is very much pretty in pink. Sargentiana robusta and various stellatas are also opening. Sprengeri diva is in full flower and looks great from afar, but floppy and a tad scruffy when viewed close up. We need more substance in blooms in our conditions with wind and heavy rain.

Michelia doltsopa is flowering around the district. The form in our park was named and released by Peter Cave as Rusty but we have never sold it. Quite simply, we think it is too large. Sure, our plant is only around 10 metres tall – but it is a good 20 metres wide. By my maths, that means that Rusty takes up around 300 square metres of land area. That is a large plant growing from a central trunk and not suckering.

We intercepted the neighbours out sniffing on a morning amble yesterday (and diverted them to coffee). All Mark’s doltsopa hybrids are coming into flower and indeed the fragrance is delicious from the road as well as in our garden. The neighbours were wanting the full on scented experience, having detected it even while driving home.

Fairy Magnolia Blush

Fairy Magnolia Blush

For the domestic garden, Mark’s first michelia hybrid to be released is opening its flowers. Fairy Magnolia Blush is reasonably compact (and clips well) with distinctive pinky purple flowers of reasonably large size. This cultivar is on the NZ market and will become available overseas in the next few years.

The first flowers on Burgundy Star. Doltsopa seedlings behind.

The first flowers on Burgundy Star. Doltsopa seedlings behind.

The row of stock plants of Mark’s Burgundy Star are opening their first flowers though the original plant in our carpark is hardly showing colour. In our opinion, in the proper reds Burgundy Star takes the cake so far.