Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Yellow Bird Lives

Yes, in answer to a reader's email, my 'Yellow Bird' Magnolia (Magnolia acuminata or Magnolia brooklynensis?)  still lives and bloomed again this year.  I was frightened for the display given our late unexpected snows and freezes this year, and I thought the last snow would knock off all the newly formed buds, but she still bloomed, although later and perhaps not quite as bountifully.  I think I can now attest to the hardiness of this tree here.  In the past three years she has withstood drought (albeit with a little extra water), early frosts, late freezes, and winter low temperatures of -10°F, and she has still grown and bloomed both years.  I think the high winds bother her the most, ripping the leaves a little here and there.

The 3rd picture below is an overall shot of the tree yesterday morning just after sunrise.  The peak bloom is already over as evidenced by the yellow petals on the ground, but some delicate flowers still remain to brighten my day.  Some have also asked why she is enclosed in a wire cage, and my simple answer is that I don't trust the large furry rats (deer) in my area. Those fuzzy plump buds look so inviting, I'm afraid that my baby will be nibbled to sticks if I leave her exposed.  And what they don't eat, the deer like to scour down to raw wood during rutting season.  So, caged she'll be until she gets branches above deer height.  She's grown about a foot each year since I purchased her.

Some garden experts and writers have written that Yellow Bird's flowers do not display well since they appear after the foliage, but I much prefer this arrangement to the "blooming on naked stems" look of my other magnolias. Blooming after the leaves open  protects the blooms from the late frosts!  The glossy yellow-green leaves of 'Yellow Bird' set off the flowers to perfection, in my opinion, and the experts will just have to suffer with the knowledge that they are wrong. 

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