|Leonard Messel Magnolia 'Magnolia x lobeneri'|
|Leonard Messel Magnolia (taken at State Botanical Gardens)|
Another beautiful variety is the Yulan magnolia ('Magnolia denudata'). It is Magnolia that many people think of when they picture a magnolia tree. It has exquisite pure white, bell shaped flowers which can be smelled across the Southeast. They are attractive to bees, butterflies and birds. It is a hardy tree which grows about 50 feet high. It has an extensive root system so be mindful of where you plant it! But what is a Southern garden without at least one Magnolia tree!
|Yulan Magnolia (at State Botanical Gardens)|
Winter hazel ('Corylopsis veitchiana') flowers in late March to early April and the flowers are really amazing. Weeping racemes up to 3" in length adorn small buttery-yellow flowers that have a light fragrance. It blooms prolifically and is covered in golden chains of flowers.
|Winterhazel (at State Botanical Garden)|
This is not to be confused with Witch-hazel (Hamamelis) also called Winterbloom because it blossoms bright yellow in the darkening days of fall and winter. It is a medium to large size shrub which can sometimes be treelike with its angular and zigzagging branches. The horticultural name means "together with fruit". A rarity among trees its fruit, flowers, and next year's leaf buds all appear on the branch simultaneously.
|Witch-hazel (taken at Atlanta Botanical Gardens)|
I see a pattern emerging here. All these trees have blooms that appear on leafless stems. I think this is a reflection of my desire to have more winter/spring interest in my garden.
Here is a shrub that I admire each time we are in the mountains that I would love to see in my woodland garden....the Mountain Laurel ('Kalmia'). It is related to the rhododendron and similarly they need moist air and rich, acidic soil. This is not a problem in Georgia!
The Flowering Quince is another of the first shrubs to bloom each year. It is incredibly easy to grow and virtually indestructible. It likes sun and well drained soil and it will provide great color for the winter garden.
|Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles)|
I think this is a pretty good start to my list for 2011. At least I have the trees and shrubs picked out. Now, on to the accent plants, grasses and ground cover choices. Stay tuned....