With the help of my wonderful #Gardenchat friends on Twitter, I was finally able to identify the magnificent flower above, that grows in our garden. It is a Magnolia lilliflora, also known as a Mulan Or Jane magnolia, amongst its many names. It is one of the parents of the hybrid Cup & Saucer magnolia
— Geri Laufer (@gardengeri) September 6, 2015
We have not one, but two quite different types of magnolias. The common white one is a large tree that is just outside my kitchen. It makes beautiful, HUGE white flowers, I’m talking the size of my head, that smell like sweet love and spring time. The white, unlike the purple one, leaves behind large decorative seedpods in late summer and autumn.
In my search for info, I also learnt that magnolias evolved before bees did and are thus adapted to being pollinated by beetles. Really fascinating!
I also found some info from the Magnolia Society website.
WHAT KIND OF LIGHT DOES YOUR GARDEN RECEIVE?
Magnolias prefer a spot in the garden that receives full sun to light shade. That said, if you live in a particularly warm or dry climate, your magnolia might benefit from a location shaded from the hot afternoon sun. If possible, avoid exposed, windy locations because strong winds can damage large flowers and the typically brittle branches.
WHAT KIND OF SOIL DO YOU HAVE?
Most magnolias grow best in moist, well-drained, slightly acid soils but neutral to slightly alkaline soils are also suitable for growth. Magnolias are adaptable to clay, loam or sand soils, but most grow poorly in wet or poorly drained soils. Well-established plants can be moderately drought tolerant.
WHICH MAGNOLIA IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
So many choices, too small a garden. When you start looking into magnolias, you will want one in every bed! Some magnolias are grown primarily for their flowers, usually in the form of a shrub or small tree. Other magnolias grow to be large shade trees, and yet others are used as evergreen shrubs, trees or hedges. Consult our Magnolia Cultivars Checklist for options and consider visiting one of the gardens listed on this map to get an idea for the kinds of magnolias that are likely to do well in your climate.
Be sure to visit Magnolia Society for more information on the different varieties and caring for these epic, ancient flowers.
Update 15 September 2015:
The Mulan magnolia is just breathtaking. The leaves have started coming in now.