magnolia

   magnolia 

    My magnolia tree is in bloom! I am so excited about this. You can tell can’t you? It’s the first spring for my sweet little tree. Soft white petals grace the bare branches. My tree is the type that blooms in the spring before the leaves unfurl, which makes for a pretty showing of white flowers. I had no idea that the blossoms would be so fragrant, and so delicate, and just utterly lovely.   

    When I moved several years ago I was amazed to find magnolia trees growing at my local arboretum. I thought such things were only possible in warm humid climates. I was barely able to contain my joy when DH and I began our search for a new tree for our garden and we stumbled upon my little magnolia at a local gardening center. It will take many years for the 8 foot tree to grow sturdy and strong, so it’s protected  from the harsh winds that sometimes blow around our parts. I experienced a moment of panic last summer when we planted our newly acquired tree. Gale forced winds whipped through the garden and the small tree was buffeted about and bent almost to the ground. Luckily for me, my fabulous neighbour ran to the rescue. Within a few short minutes he was over in my garden with a sturdy contraption that supported my little tree and tethered it safely to the ground so that it would grow straight and sturdy. Phew!

    Because I now have my very own magnolia tree, I decided to do a little research and find out more about ‘Magdalene’, aptly nicknamed if I do say so myself. I discovered that fossilized specimens of  magnolia flowers have been found dating back 20 millions years, and fossils of magnolia plants have also been found,  dating back 95 million years. I had no idea the magnolia was such an ancient bloom. It has been on this planet a long, long time. Amazing. Since it evolved before the humble bumble bee, it’s flowers developed to encourage pollination from beetles. It’s nice knowing my tree is beautiful AND resourceful.

    Magnolias have been used in China for their medicinal qualities since 1083, since the bark has been found to contain a compound that has anti-anxiety properties. In parts of Japan, a specific type of magnolia leaf is used for wrapping food and also used as makeshift vessels in which meat and vegetables are grilled. Not only is it the state flower of Mississippi, but also the official state flower of Louisiana. And I thought it was just pretty. I had no idea that there were so many uses for the delicate flowers, leaves and bark. Shows how much I know. I guess it’s true, you do learn something every day.

    That’s me then.

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Published in: on May 4, 2009 at 3:35 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. We have our very first magnolia here. I love her (and it is definitely a “her.”) It does make me feel like I’m in Mississippi… but compared to you, I kind of am. 🙂 (Oh, and accordingly, she was done blossoming several weeks ago!)(But I’m not bragging. No. Definitely not bragging about our lovely weather.)


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