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Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Magnolia Mile!

Magnolia blossoms ~ Artist unknown to me

Well, where have you all been?  I've been right here, minding my own business, and trying to stay out of trouble, just kidding...what fun is that?  I know I haven't written in a while, but I have NOT left the building!  

Gosh, I've been taking the same route to and from work everyday (almost) for the past 21 years, and, I never know what gorgeous sites I am going to encounter!  I had no idea Magnolia trees were so prominent in this area of north Fort Worth as I have seen over the past years.  I don't have a Magnolia tree, and I don't even know why!  So,  I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to this beauteous species!

What I have learned thus far-YOU CAN'T REACH THE BLOSSOMS!  How does anyone ever get to pick a Magnolia blossom to enjoy on the veranda whilst sipping a cool mint julep?  
"Oh, Ashley!"

~photo by Suzanne * Riverside Drive * Fort Worth, Texas * June 2013

Okay, we know this...Magnolia trees come in many sizes, the largest being the Southern Magnolia, growing to 80 feet, and the Cucumbertree Magnolia, also hailing from the US, at 90 feet tall.  I've seen these large beauties in front yards, and, adorning a vacant lot here and there in town.  They are actually native to the eastern half of the nation, with only the cucumbertree thriving as far north as New York State.  And, the Southern Magnolia has the largest range, from North Carolina, through the upper half of Florida...then, westward HO into Texas!

~photo by Suzanne * Rayner Street *  Fort Worth, Texas * June 4, 2014
This photo is out of focus (I guess it's the photographer, lol!)
But notice how large it is...and just full of blooms!
And, I had to hurry...I didn't want to get arrested for sneaking into a strange neighborhood to shoot pics of a tree?  Sure, they would really believe that,wouldn't they!

As we are all aware, it is rumored that these trees have reputations for attractive flowers and fine foliage.  I do know that some of them are evergreen.  Most of the larger Magnolia trees in my area stay leafy all year round, however, I have seen some of them turn brown.  Some of the leaves will fall and accumulate under the tree, leaving little chance for anything else to grow beneath it.  Magnolias are well noted as one of the premier shade and landscaping trees in the Deep South-the blooms being the official state flower for both Mississippi (nicknamed 'the Magnolia State') and Louisiana.

~ photo by Suzanne * Beach and I-121 * Fort Worth, TX

Some uses of Magnolia Trees:
* magnolias are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species,
including Giant Leopard Moth.
* the bark and flower buds have long been used in traditional Chinese medicine.
* In parts of Japan, the leaves of Magnolia are used for wrapping food
and as cooking dishes.

~photo by Suzanne * Higgins Street * Fort Worth, TX * May 2014

As you can see here, Magnolia blossoms grow at the end of a tree's branches.  And, it looks to me as though they kind of tuck themselves in which would make them hard to cut.  Also, I want to mention that Magnolia trees may feature pink, red, purple and yellow blooms.  They seldom have pest or disease problems, and, aren't usually munched on by deer-well, THAT'S refreshing!

~photo by Suzanne on Higgins Street * Fort Worth, TX in May 2014

See how the sunlight lends a soft glow to this bloom?  If you look upward to the right, you can see a new bud, and then, on the left up a ways behind a smaller, sunlit leaf, appears the fruit of the it okay at this point to call it a 'Mag'?

~ photo from Yahoo images
Here's a closer look at an unripened 'Mag' fruit.  As it ripens, the fruit kernels turn a bright chartreuse reddish.  Darn!  I didn't know that, because I haven't seen any red fruit on the trees in my area.  The kernels are high in water content, and a good food source for birds.  The kernels are actually the seeds, and start popping out as they ripen, however,  only about 50%  of them germinate, so, good luck on getting a 'Mag' tree to start successfully!  My research suggests that it takes about 10 years or more for a 'Mag' tree to start producing blooms and seeds.  I have come across some smaller 'Mag' trees in the area, but, haven't gotten any photos of them-I do look for blooms, and, I guess the information is correct.  After watching a few of the small trees during the past few years, I have yet to see any blooms appear.

~ripened Magnolia seeds * photo from Yahoo images

Sooo...are we at a 'wrap- it-up' point?

 Here are just a few 'Mag' tips:

* Pick the site for your 'Mag' carefully...don't crowd it.  These trees are hard to move, so find a spot with rich, well-drained soil that is slightly acidic, and add organic matter when planting.

* Mulch in the early years with a cooling mulch over the root area.

* Water deeply and thoroughly, but, don't leave the soil waterlogged, or the tree will drown.

*Sometimes the 'Mags' can develop 'chlorosis' (yellow leaves with veins), and you should treat with iron chelates.   Okay, here's what that kinda means!  Iron chelate is a soluable complex of iron, sodium and a chelating agent, which I cannot begin to pronounce-but it's soluable in water.  Sheesh!

* If your 'Mag' is desiduous ( the leaves fall seasonally), pruning is best after it blooms, however, it is suggested to prune desiduous trees only when necessary to correct the plant's shape, as the cuts are slow to heal.  On evergreen 'Mags', prune before the spring growth flush, removing the entire twig or limb to its base.  You can remove lower limbs from the trunk as the tree gains height.

  ~photo by Suzanne * Beach Street * Fort Worth, TX * May 30, 2014

Questions anyone?
  Gosh...I hope not!  I think I will continue to admire this gracious species whilst driving through town,
 and let the experts handle the 'Maintenance of the Mags'!

Please allow me to thank:

Thank you so much for your visit.  I love seeing you all, or, y'all, as we say here in the Lone Star State.  I hope you're doing well, and laughing a lot.  We have gotten some rain lately, and the temps are hovering in the high 80's and low 90's right now.  It's tolerable, but, we've got to run that air conditioning frequently.

And I want to tip my hat to you dads tonight.  Even if you don't have children of your own, I'll bet you've been a dad to a child at sometime in your life by just giving of yourself.  Being a mentor, tossing a ball back and forth, congratulating a child on a job well done, defines a dad in my book!

Happy Father's Day to you guys!

And now...
~ Somewhere in the early 1970's

"Sit with me in the top of a Magnolia tree.
Tell me all your secrets, darlin...tell me that you'll stay."
~from Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors

Love and Hugs to you safe, eat sugar-free popsicles!
See you soon!  ♥


  1. Hi, Suzanne! Dear friend, I'm very sorry to be so late with my comment. I want you to know that I logged on to your blog a couple dozen times starting last weekend. Day after day it said the post had been removed. After a week of trying I finally gave, apparently around the time you republished. I'm glad I decided to check back one more time. When I could find your post for an extended period and you didn't visit my blog this week I got terribly worried about you and feared that the weather had k-o'd your power or that you or Karo were ill. I am very relieved to find you here and in good spirits!

    Thank you for this informative post about the Magnolia. It certainly is a handsome tree - nicely shaped, abundant leaves and showy blossoms. I agree that it would be a mistake for a new homeowner not to take into account the tree's height and canopy width when deciding where to plant it. Tree and shrub crowding is a common mistake and not easily corrected with some species, as you pointed out. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of following my father around the yard of our new house and planting and watering young trees he had purchased at a nursery. My dad laid a perforated hose across the base and put each tree on a slow drip for hours, a wise decision to ensure deep down watering.

    My goodness, I love that pic of you taken in the early 70s! You look like you could have landed the role of Marcia on The Brady Bunch! :)


    Once again, please forgive me for arriving late to your party, Suzanne. There is still time for you to come to mine. :) Hope you're having a great weekend, dear friend!

  2. Hi poor guy! I was working on this post last week, and I inadvertently published less than halfway through it. I took it back, but I could see that it kept the title and picture anyway...DRATS, I said. "Now everyone will know in advance what I'm writing about." So, monsieur Knight, you are not late after all!

    Then, we got to have our little Scootie last week, so I put the post on the back burner while he was here. He was a lot of fun as usual, and helped Grandpa fix a doorknob that fell off the bathroom door! What a little character!

    My dad was a lot like your dad. He would actually measure distances in a garden so to enable equalized watering! Everything did thrive in those days. He raised lilac trees with ease, and they were beautifully aromatic.

    You really had it bad for her didn't you? LOL! She was a very cute girl, that Marsha! I did like the show, and the Partridge Family too.

    Well, Shady thank you so much for coming by...not so late! Hope your weather isn't too stifling right now...ours is threatening to get that way. Oh, by the way, I did get over to see your award, but wasn't able to stop. I will head back over there-seems like you were passing out secrets...and congrats on your 22nd anniversary for not smoking. I did quit too, but not that long ago. Still I have not slid back, and, I have no regrets! Thanks for your kind words and friendship. It's always a pleasure, my friend. See you soon! ♫

  3. Read your garden blog, quite a bit more infor on the Magnolia tree, and yes, the fruit is really colorful, and I bet the birds have quite a feast when they get hold of one.

  4. Hi Suzanne, lovely post. I have always admired Magnolias - most the ones we have over here that I've seen, only seem to have a short flowering period (beautiful bright pink) and then they are bare branches. Beautiful to look at and photograph though - I prefer to let others do that hard work of raising them.
    Absolutely enjoyed seeing your 70s outfit and pose - my goodness what a beauty :D)
    Cheers now xx

  5. Hi Susan, happy to see you! The Magnolias here are very pretty, but, as you say, I have seen a short blooming time for them too. I have to act fast to get any photos before the blooms turn a brownish color and disappear. And, I have only seen white blooms. So, I'm with you...let others do the hard work and we'll enjoy the beauty.

    Thank you so much for coming by, oh, and thank you for your kind compliment on my old photo. Shoot, I couldn't even get up in a tree now (well, maybe a limb that is closer to the ground) Haha! Have a wonderful weekend! Hugs! ♥


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