“Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.”
Happy Thursday lovely friends and as always, I am so glad you are here. If my memory serves me well, I am doing something I haven’t done before…spotlighting a single bloom on a blog post. Long-time readers know that we have lived in our home for forty years. It was built when we were very young…our house was situated in the middle of pasture land, so there wasn’t an over abundance of trees. Three large and very old oak trees along with a cedar tree fronted our home and that was about all. The very first tree we planted was a Southern magnolia. At this age, I wasn’t aware of what I wanted in a landscape, but I knew I wanted a magnificent magnolia in my front yard.
This is our forty year old Magnolia Grandiflora commonly known as a Southern magnolia. It is native to the Southeastern United States and it dots the lawns and landscapes all over our northeast Alabama town!
The Southern magnolia is a medium to large evergreen tree which may grow to 120 feet, but normally between 60-80 feet with canopies spreading 30-50 feet wide. We estimate ours to be around 30 feet. They grow on average 1-2 feet per year, classifying them as a slow grower.
The leaves of the Magnolia Grandiflora are a glossy dark green that are stiff with a leathery texture. They may grow up to 7 3/4 inches long and 4 3/4 inches wide. The underside of the leaf is soft to the touch and a rusty brown color. The downside of a Southern Magnolia is that they drop their leaves 365 days a year.
The large and showy white blooms are up to 11 3/4 inches across, imagine a large dinner plate.
This bloom has nine petals. As you can see, gnats are attracted to the scent!
While researching, I came across some interesting information that I was unaware of…you didn’t know you were going to get a history lesson today, did you? An iconic Southern Magnolia was planted nearly 200 years ago by President Andrew Jackson near the South Portico of the White House.
It was reputedly planted as a seedling from Jackson’s Tennessee home, The Hermitage. It was the oldest tree on the White House grounds and was so famous that it was for decades pictured on the back of the $20 bill as part of a view of the South Front.
There was a tradition of gifting cuttings or seedlings grown from the tree. President Reagan gifted a cutting to his Chief of Staff Howard Baker upon his retirement and Michelle Obama donated a seedling to the “people’s garden” of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The tree had been supported by metal poles and cables since the 1940’s when the tree suffered a gash that caused a large section of its trunk to rot. It was decided in 2017 from the advice of the National Arboretum to cut down and remove the famous magnolia because the trunk was in an extremely fragile condition and the supports had been compromised.
After the blossoming time is over, brown cones are left with bright red seeds. Birds love to eat the seeds and it also becomes nourishment for squirrels, opossums, and turkeys which are plentiful around our home!
Do you have a magnolia tree in your landscape, I would love to hear your stories! Thank you for your visits and the comments that you leave. Wishing you a joy-filled day and weekend sweet friends!
Resources: Wikipedia, Southern Living
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