Though I have written about Butterflies Magnolia before, I cannot ignore the best bloom ever going on right now. Please bear with me. This magnolia was bred by Phil Savage, a native of my area. His work hybridizing magnolias is known internationally. Al Goldner, a landscape designer for whom I worked in the 1980’s, took me to his property to meet him, and see his work. I planted these trees 8 years ago, and surrounded them with formal rectangles of boxwood. They were breathtaking when I got home last night.
The duration of time any magnolia blooms is very short, but I would not miss it. The flowers are so spectacular, the week or better I get every year is worth the wait, and the regret at the end. But magnolias also have beautiful smooth grey bark, and very architectural branching. The large glossy leaves are beautiful the entire season long. There are a lot of good reasons to plant them. This particular cultivar is trouble free for me-all I do is look at them.
The individual flowers of Butterflies has the classic magnolia shape and petal count. The flowers are small, but so so lovely. It is the pale yellow flower of Butterflies which is so startlingly different than most magnolias. Though Phil Savage passed away a few years ago, his property still exists, intact. I have seen peach flowered magnolias grafted onto ash tree rootstock-60 feet tall there. His niece, Patty Y, is a client of mine; she took me there last year to see all of his magnolias in bloom. Were it my call, his property would immediately be declared a national treasure and cared for in perpetuity. There are trees on that property that exist no where else on earth. The no where else on earth idea is an important one. This is an idea which guides my garden making. I want a garden that is just mine; when I get home, I know there is no other place like it on earth.
As I said, these trees have been in the ground for eight years. Though our spring has been miserably cold and nasty, they started blooming yesterday as if they had 10 minutes to live. I have never had so many flowers. There are thousands of yellow flowers. Buck and I had a glass of wine out there last night-heavenly.
By heavenly, I mean this. I live in an urban neighborhood-a major 5 lane road just one block away. Last night, these trees transported me to another place and time. If you are a gardener, you understand how a beautiful moment in a garden is the next best thing to heaven. Though I planted these magnolias as single trunked trees, they are also grown in my area as multitrunked shrubby trees. Imagine a hedge of yellow magnolias, can you? Will you?