Thursday, April 15, 2010

Friday's Favourite - Magnificent Magnolia

In our little part of central Ontario we are rated zone 5a for growing plants.  One that has this distinction can live on the fine line of life or death here.  But, if a shrub like the magnolia with its romantic history in the south becomes an obsession to be acquired, caution is thrown to the wind and one hopes for the best.
Such is the story of my M. loebneri 'Leonard Messel' that sits out in the open on the north side of our backyard. 

This photo was taken four years ago and the shrub is much taller and wider now but not quite fully opened yet.  The mature height should be 4 m (about 15 feet) but with two previous summers of good rain, he has exceeded the expectations.
Kind of spindly to look at overall but the flower buds and the flowers when they open, well, they are magnificent!

Can't you just feel the soft down on the bud as it is about to open?

With delicate pink petals, you can see why anyone would want this variety of magnolia.

Gardening friends said this shrub wouldn't live because it is only rated to zone 6 in books and is at risk to wind where it is located. But, it has the will to survive and will hopefully continue to bloom for many more years.


  1. Hi Judith... I have a leonard messel! They are gorgeous! Mine is just a little guy.. I can't wait for him to be as big as yours!

  2. Hi Judith, I have one magnolia and it is from the little girl series 'Susan' and every year she gets just a bit bigger. She started out as a very small shrub only 1 ft. tall and she now stands a whole 4 ft. and it has taken her 5 years to grow 3 feet. Oh well, slow and steady wins the race. Thanks for the information on the serviceberry. Take care:)

  3. Oh I love the first picture with the blossom just peaking out from it's nest!! Lovely photos and I think its wonderful that you try things that may not be in "the zone"!! Here in Colorado things are just now budding out- we have a slow start!

    bee blessed

  4. Simply beautiful! It's a shrub to hanker after. Your macro shot of the bud unfolding is gorgeous.

  5. I have a small magnolia...Susan. I have moved it a couple of times and it has never bloomed. This year looks promising but I will have to wait. Valerie


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