Bloom Blast! February 2, 2011
Ancient Magnolias (photo: Magnolia ‘Vulcan’)
Magnolia, harbinger of spring, has thankfully survived ice ages, continental drift, mountain formation, and life among dinosaurs to reward us each year with its glorious flowers.
Magnolia's flowers adapted to attract beetles for pollination as their 100 million year fossil record predates winged pollinators. The sensual, bowl-shaped flower structure lured botanist Chevalier Soulange–Bodin to hybridize his first cross, a white M. denudata from China and red M. liliflora from Japan.
After viewing these beautiful plants, one can understand how Magnolias have captivated hearts for centuries. Cultivated in China since the 7th century, Magnolias were planted in temple gardens to represent purity, gentleness, and feminine beauty. In Japan the flower is associated with the life force and often sent as a gift on the occasion of birth. Magnolia grandiflora was a Victorian symbol of wealth and dignity, and is the state flower of Mississippi and Louisiana.
Magnolia ‘Vulcan’ explodes its furry coat, unfurling huge magenta flowers to greet arriving Gardens’ visitors. In the woodland garden the large, white lax star-like flowers of M. doltsopa can be seen from several paths, but should be viewed up close for the incredible fragrance. These are but two from our collection of 30 species and cultivars.
Coveted and hard to find, Magnolia ‘Vulcan’ is now available in the Gardens' nursery. Its resplendent beauty, easy care and deer resistance make this a favorite among Gardens’ staff.
"Victory Garden" Classes
The Mendocino Coast Master Gardeners invite the public to learn how to grow food on and near the coast. The class is being held Saturday, March 26 from 1-4 P.M.