The Majestic Magnolia

 

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Magnolia trees are simply synonymous with the Southern garden.  I have childhood memories of growing up in Mississippi with the sweet perfume of fresh magnolia in our home.  My Mother considered them a floral design staple any season of the year, often incorporating  them into flower arrangements or placing simple bowls of their pristine blooms on our dining table.  Maybe that is why we had a dozen or so majestic magnolia trees surrounding our home! 

I love to cut a few of them as they just start to bloom and watch them as their tulip-shaped buds unfold into exquisite blooms. A southern garden fixture, the magnolia represents “splendid beauty and dignity”.  I once heard the quote:  “The fragrance of magnolias is pure happiness”, and I can’t think of a better description of these majestic flowers.

 

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There are over 90 different speices of magnolia today in the U.S.   However, my favorite variety is Magnolia grandiflora. I can’t help but be a little partial to the magnolia since it is the state flower of Mississippi, my native state.  This variety can easily reach heights of 80 feet and grown 40 feet in width.  “Little Gem”, another popular variety, is the longest flowering magnolia ever.

Pictured below is a Magnolia Stellata, more commonly referred to as a Star magnolia, that was planted on my family’s property back in the 70’s.  Although this was photographed mid-March,  the reddish aggregates of fruit it produces in the fall are lovely, too.

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When the sweet fragrance of magnolia trees fills the air, you know that you are in the South.

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Although the blooms are short lived, enjoy them while they last!  However, I even like the faded, brown blooms. Even the pods are lovely, and can be used in floral design. I placed a few pods on the on a garden trellis that is covered with  variegated Kadsura vine.  

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At the recent opening of Magnolia Preserve in Dothan, we placed arrangements of magnolia, Ligustrum blooms, and hydrangea throughout the reception and entertaining areas..

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Magnolia and Confederate Jasmine pair beautifully together.

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Magnolia is definitely a flower arranging staple around my house, and one of my favorite combinations is magnolia and hydrangea.

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A more formal design in a tole container..

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Another arrangement in a rustic, fluted metal container is shown below.

 

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I can’t think of a better way to make a statement of southern hospitality than a display of  magnolias at an entryway!

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Rustic wooden bowls always are great presentation vessels for magnolias..

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 Pour me a mint julep – it’s magnolia season in the South!

 

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