I’ve been working on a garden post about some of my summer favorites, but I keep getting distracted by this beauty in my front yard. (And by my baby. Obviously there has been no shortage of posts about a cute baby lately.)
I could have just added the magnolia to my list of favorites, but just look at it. It really deserves it’s own post. It’s a big part of the shade on our Shady Acre. When we first looked at this house, I loved that it had a huge old magnolia tree in the front yard. Every old house in the South deserves a magnolia tree of its own.
(not a great shot, but you get the idea…)
Magnolias aren’t perfect, mind you. They can be quite messy. Their huge leathery leaves take forever to decompose, even when mulched by the lawnmower. And the seedpods–try not to step on them. They hurt bare feet, and they can make you turn an ankle if you’re wearing shoes. It’s all too much for some people. In fact, there used to be two magnolias in our front yard (before it was ours), but the previous owners cut the other one down. They probably wanted more sun to grow some flowers–which I totally understand. Full sun is hard to find in our yard.
But the blooms! The blooms make all the hassle worth it. They reward those who bear through the mess.
Our blooms are about the size of dinner plate when they are fully opened. And they have a sweet citrusy scent that can perfume an entire room.
When the petals drop, the center of the bloom begins its transformation in to a giant fuzzy seedpod. It looks like the love-child of an artichoke and a tennis ball.
I like to collect them to use for decorations when they are at this lovely stage–in late summer/early fall.
When they finish drying out, these bright red seeds that are shaped like little beans start to peek out. (This is when the pods really start to hurt your feet!) Is that not the most vibrant red? I wish I had some lipstick that color.
And if you plant one, you’ll get one of these…
Side story: A few years ago, I saw one of these not-so-little sprouts growing from a Y in the pecan tree at our neighbors’ house. I thought it was so cool that it had found that odd place to grow (I’m easily fascinated by nature). But then I started worrying about the fact that its roots were slowly going to be wedging their way into that tree, and how it would eventually lead to the tree’s demise. I really wanted to go over there and clip it or pull it out. I debated whether I should do that. I thought about it way too much. Ultimately, I chickened out.
AND IT’S STILL THERE. Growing bigger every year. Killing that pecan tree little by little. Haunting me. Taunting me to come do something about it.
I know. I have a problem.
Luckily, I have a baby now, so I will hardly have time to dwell on something like that. For the love of God, I still have Christmas decorations in my dining room–WHY AM I WORRIED ABOUT A TREE ACROSS THE STREET?
End of story.
Here it is, by the way.
Okay, now the story really is over. I just thought a photo would help you see why I’m crazy why it drives me crazy. Disturbing, isn’t it?
Oh, and if that tree dies, the hottest, most unforgiving afternoon sun will blaze unfiltered across our yard and front porch, so maybe my concern comes from a selfish place.
Now, the side story has TRULY ended.
Now what was this post about?
I planted two last year, and only this one survived. I have no idea what I’m going to do with it. We certainly don’t need another tree on this acre. I intended to plant it and another magnolia that’s couple of years older than this one on our new property in the country (June 10 post), but that didn’t work out. I’ll have to explain that another time since I’ve reached my side-story limit.
I’ll probably give them away, since I’m getting tired of watering them. Let me know if you need a magnolia in your life.
You’ll have lots of these to look forward to…
I finally pulled this one off the tree to photograph. I’m sure we were a sight. I was in a house dress with my face in the flowers, Mr. T was in his stroller (still in his PJs), and the dog was just waiting to get back inside to the AC.
I knew my time was up when I looked up and saw this… Little man was ready for his nap.
Let me know what you think about magnolias. Are they worth the mess in your yard? Check back tomorrow for our (accidental) weekend destruction.