A Magnolia in Bloom - Now!

I think of fall as the time for color – the reds, yellows and orange of our hardwood trees. But right now I have a magnolia in bloom now, and love it.

The magnolia in question is a hybrid called ‘Jane’. This is a shrubby magnolia that never gets big and tall like my magnificent white Merrill hybrid that stands 35 feet tall and blooms in April. This one gets to be just 10 to 15 feet tall with a spread of 8 to 12 feet wide. I’ve had mine for about 5 years in full sun and moist, rich soil. She was developed in the 1950’s at the National Arboretum as a part of the ‘Little Girl’ series.

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I bought my 'Jane' at Cider Hill Gardens in Windsor, VT. They have an impressive specimen, also a re-bloomer, in their wonderful display gardens.

My Merrill magnolia blooms in April, and does not re-bloom.

Jane blooms in May or June, but then offers a few blossoms again most months of the summer. Each blossom starts as a magnificent bud, a deep pinky red that reminds me of lipstick applied to big, sensuous lips. Then the buds open to 4- to 6-inch flowers, pink on the outside, almost white inside. Right now my tree has just half a dozen blossoms, which I consider remarkable for late September. The leaves are a shiny dark green all summer.

'Jane' is a real delight.

I actually like the buds better than the blossoms because they are perfect, and very intensely colored. More often than not, the petals turn brown soon after the blossoms open. But any way you look at it, it is amazing and delightful to have a magnolia blooming in October.

Jane's flowers often turn unsightly soon after opening.

And that Merrill magnolia? It's just starting to show a little color as the red seeds are popping open their pink pods.

This seed pod will open soon, showing deep red seeds on my Merrill magnolia.

Read my recent post about fall asters and mums.  Just click here.

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