ProfessorRoush is trapped indoors once again today, by wind and cold in the boorish 4's; 40 mph wind gusts and 40º temps. The temperatures are quite a change from the 80º temperatures of the middle of the week, but the wind has been ravaging the countryside all week. Thank heaven, however, that the cold was accompanied by some welcome rain Friday night and Saturday morning, and the forecast shows more rain coming this week. Needless to say, it's about time.
|'Ann' in the garden|
The warm temperatures of the past week, however, made the magnolias suddenly pop. Feast your eyes on my magnolia harvest for the year, both 'Jane' and 'Ann' going into full bloom almost overnight. Now if those thick petals can just stand the wind for a few days so I can enjoy them! 'Ann' pictured here first
, is the darker pink of the two, while my 'Jane' is a little older
, larger, and less vibrant. Particularly in the photos of 'Jane' and 'Yellow Bird', you can appreciate the storms swirling around in the Kansas skies.
'Jane' and 'Ann' are two of the so-named "Little Girl
" series bred at and released by the National Arboretum. The vision of Dr. William Kosar and Dr. Francis de Vos, they were were crosses of Magnolia liliiflora
and Magnolia stellata
cultivars and were released into commerce in 1968. They are cold-hardy to -30ºF and were flower about 2 weeks after Magnolia stellata
, giving northern american gardeners a chance to enjoy some of the fragrance and beauty that the south takes for granted. They also are said to tolerate "heavy clay soils and dry areas", so they were seemingly tailored for my Kansas environment.
|'Jane' in the garden|
I first wrote "fragrance and grace" in the sentence above, but upon further thought, "grace" hardly describes the thickness and weight of the magnolia petals. The fragrance of most cultivars, also, is less than graceful and more like being hit with a sledge; hardly subtle at it's best moments but I am happy to get lost in it every spring, overdosing on the sweetness that is so strong it's like inhaling honey.
There were actually 8 "Little Girl
s", but I never see 'Betty', 'Judy', 'Randy', 'Ricki', 'Susan', or 'Pinkie' offered for sale. As much as I enjoy and appreciate 'Ann' and 'Jane', I should search out the others. 'Betty' seems to be the darkest pink-red, and 'Pinkie' almost white, but the images of the others are almost indistinguishable to me.
And out there in the garden, just beginning to bloom, is my beloved 'Yellow Bird'
Magnolia. Normally about two weeks later than my other magnolias, 'Yellow Bird' is opening at a slower pace, but it also was stirred into action by the warm winds. It normally opens it's blooms aloneside it's foliage, but this year the flowers seem to be in more of a hurry than their green backdrops. And the first few are a little frost-damaged or rain-damaged, or something. Ah well, they are still so perfectly, so lightly, yellow that I can hardly breathe in their presence.
P.S. In the "Jane in the garden" and "Yellow Bird in the garden photos, the blurring of the backdrop was a happy accident, created by placing my iPhone camera in Portrait mode and then selecting "Stage Light" as the lighting filter. Pretty neat, eh?