Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Friday, January 7, 2011

Images of Things to Come

As all gardeners do at this time of year, I am perusing through seed and plant catalogues dreaming of things to come. In addition to catalogues, magazines and other blogs, I also take inspiration from places I've visited.  I am looking through my library of photographs and am starting my list of trees and shrubs that I would like to incorporate into my garden this year.

Leonard Messel Magnolia 'Magnolia x lobeneri'
The Leonard Messel Magnolia is one of the most desired magnolias. It is slow growing to a height of about 15 - 20 feet and is extremely hardy. I have read that it has been grown successfully from Northern Minnesota, without winter protection, all the way down to Zone 9b. Combine this trait with the gorgeous star-like pink Spring blossoms, and excellent disease resistance, and you have yourself a near perfect landscape specimen.

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!

Mountain Laurel 'Kalmia'


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....

14 comments:

  1. I don't think I've seen that particular magnolia before, and now I want one too! I'm a huge fan of witch hazel & quince, too.

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  2. Inherited that quince. Spectacular when it blooms, a beacon of flaming coral!

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  3. Appalachian Feet, I first saw these magnolia's at the State Botanical Garden in Athens (GA). I hope I will be able to find one at my local nursery.

    Elephant's Eye, I didn't think of quince growing in South Africa but then again a horticultural friend did a tour of gardens in South Africa and said that the climate is very similar to Georgia.

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  4. All wonderful picks Karin!!! You've really got me going now! I have a Quince but it's in a shady overgrown area and is begging for help!! Just seeing these beautiful trees makes me wish for time to fly!

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  5. Such lovely choices you have shown. Now I am wishing the snow would let up a bit and usher in the warmer weather in the near future.

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  6. Great selection, I love them all. I have a Magnolia denudata from the old Heronswood. I am still waiting for it to flower, but the old specimens at Longwood Gardens are magnificent. Can't grow mountain laurel even though it's the PA state flower.

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  7. Thanks Eve!

    GWGT, This winter seems to be dumping a lot of snow. They are saying we might get up to a foot of snow tomorrow. That is unheard of here in the South!

    Carolyn, I've never tried to grow mountain laurel so I hope it won't be too difficult. I'm sure I will include a them in a future post when I get them in the ground. I hope you will stop by again.

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  8. Thank you for this moment of color! While I love Winter, it's always nice to be reminded of Spring.

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  9. What beautiful shrubs! Be careful of the thorns on the quince. The magnolia is my favorite. Those flowers are just incredible. Have you ever grown loropetalum? I grew it when we lived in SC. I only pruned it to help it fill out into a nice shape and it was just beautiful. It's hard to resist a purple shrub!

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  10. Meredehuit! Yes it is!

    TS, I am a fan of loropetalum too. I have several growing in front of my house and like you I like the more natural look of the branches flowing than a manicured shrub. I also love their pink, fringe flowers.

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  11. Oh how I wish I had the space to plant some of these beauties! And I'm with you and TS on lorapetalum. I adore it. Thanks for the wonderful images.

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  12. Wonderful moment of colors, great post and images. Thanks for sharing.

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  13. I love your choices. I have flowering quince and witch hazel. The quince is over 50 years old and still going strong, after being cut to the ground for several seasons by my husband after we moved in. He didn't know what it was and went wild with his weed whacker! I finally recognized it for what it was and we transplanted it to another area, making a half dozen out of the one. It has lovely blooms, and as you say, it is indestructible!

    The witch hazel has been a disappointment. It is young, so I'm hoping to eventually see blooms.

    Your magnolia choices are both fantastic. I can't wait to see your garden as it develops!

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  14. Linda, my choices do require some space. Thanks for visiting my blog!

    Orchid de dangau, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I appreciate your input.

    Deb, I would love to see your flowering quince. It sounds amazing.

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"Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your soul"

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