Monday, April 22, 2013

Magnificent Magnolias

I like to see the magnolia trees around my neighborhood. Their flowers are full and fancy, the petals soft to the touch, and the fragrance is enticing. I tended to think of magnolias as only southern trees. Not so. They grow in a wide range of areas. In fact, there are some 200 varieties around the world and they all are beautiful.

But there are positive and negatives to most things and magnolias are not an exception. Here are some of the positives:
Magnolia trees definitely have that WOW factor. They are magnificent trees that are hard to ignore.
They are relatively fast growing.
They produce incredible flowers, which come in many colors depending upon the variety, that are a delight to our senses.
They come in many choices including evergreen or deciduous trees.
You can find a variety that suits your location and preferred blooming time.

Some of the negatives:
Spent magnolias flowers literally cover the ground when they fall.
The flowers produce pollen – good for the beetles that feed on them but not so good for allergy sufferers.
Their roots are ropy and can get tangled around the base and they also extend farther out than most trees, which makes them hard to transplant.
They can be large and dominate a landscape, up to 80 feet tall and 50 feet wide, though there are smaller options that are more in the 25 feet tall and 20 feet wide size.
Magnolia wood is soft and is prone to breakage in storms and damage by mowers and string trimmers.

So it is kind of a balance among factors - beauty, maintenance, drama, practicality, delight, appropriateness – at least for us as homeowners and planters. The yin and yang of nature. Most of life is poised between the two. What seems positive at one time may shift to negative at another and vice versa. The magnolia just follows its genetic path being magnificent and troublesome, depending on one’s point of view. Why shouldn’t we enjoy the positive even as we deal with the negative? 

Magnolia basics:


  1. Hmmm, our neighbors have a magnificent magnolia tree and I love looking at it when it's in bloom; I didn't know, however, that it was a double edged sword. Like clouds, I'll look at both sides now.

  2. That reminds me of a song...