Magnolias hold a special space in the hearts of North American gardeners, particularly those in the South where spring is heralded by the arrival of the magnolia blooms. "The Queen of Flowers" is also the favorite of author Rosemary Barrett, whose garden features dozens of magnolia trees. She shares her expertise and passion for magnolias, offering readers practical and enthusiastic guidance on growing these extraordinary trees.
Surprisingly, in contrast to their sophisticated beauty, magnolias are easy to grow. This guide for hands-on gardeners is full of useful advice and ideas, including:
Magnolias includes traditional species and newer varieties, magnolias that flower quickly and those that take some time to bloom, magnolias for any size garden, perfumed magnolias, and many related plants. Wonderful photographs, nursery sources, a bibliography, hardiness zones and a full index complete this inspiring guide to this most beautiful tree.
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Rosemary Barrett owns a nursery with her husband, where together they have developed an extensive collection of flowering deciduous trees, including many magnolias. Rosemary has collected each new variety as soon as it is released. She also writes on magnolias and other flowering trees and shrubs for numerous garden magazines and specialist periodicals.
Derek Hughes specializes in garden and horticulture photography, which has appeared in many books and magazines. As well as presentations of his garden photographs, he is also an educator of designers, digital artists and photographers.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Why grow magnolias? Well, firstly, for their sheer beauty of flower. I do not think any tree approaches the breathtaking sight of a deciduous magnolia clothed from head-to-toe in flowers of arresting color and shape. Secondly, these trees are true aristocrats, with a stately bearing to match. Even without their marvelous flowers, they have a poise and charisma difficult to describe, but wonderful to behold. Thirdly, while many plants of special beauty can be difficult to grow, for example, some of the orchids, magnolias are blessedly simple in their requirements. Ernest Wilson, the great 20th,century British plant hunter, said of magnolias, "Their free flowering character and great beauty of blossom and foliage are equaled by the ease with which they may be cultivated."
With the new smaller-growing varieties, even tiny gardens can have at least one magnolia, and, if you choose carefully, and have the space to incorporate the wonderful American evergreen magnolia Magnolia grandiflora, you may have magnolia flowers over many months.
This is a book for hands-on gardeners, with practical advice and ideas from a gardener's viewpoint, rather than that of collectors, hybridists or nurserymen. I hope I can impart some of my knowledge and love of these wonderful trees to those who have not grown them before. And for those who already grow and love magnolias, I trust I can introduce you to some newer varieties that are particularly beautiful and rewarding. Of course, new hybrids appear all the time, some wonderful, some not so, but remember that there are still the tried-and-true magnolias that cannot be surpassed. We gardeners are extremely fortunate in that we have such a wide choice. Perhaps our only difficulty will be deciding what to grow -- but what a happy situation.
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