Magnolias – a New Ice Age at The Savill Garden

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Magnolia Diva
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Magnolia campbellii hybrid cross
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Magnolia sargentiana var robusta
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Magnolia sargentiana var robusta

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Magnolia campbelii
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Magnolia campbellii
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Magnolia campbellii
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Magnolia campbellii

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Magnolia stellata
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Magnolia stellata

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Look up! These are, for the most part, big trees in the landscape, tall, towering forms with blossoms in crystalline white, glacial and very probably played by Tilda Swinton in the movie – but there are elsewhere, blushes of pink too, still cool but not so icy and with one, a definite warm, deep-rose. All save the Magnolia stellata are big specimens for the larger garden/landscape. M. stellata alone was seen as a spreading, multi-stemmed shrub, about my head-height, with splayed, finger-like, pure white petals and a myriad furry-grey buds waiting to break.

With such a mild winter and positively warm weather for a week or so, the Magnolias are breaking into flower and while there are no storms, lashing rain or high winds, they might continue to look good for a little while yet. Some are already dropping their bulky petals; others are just shy of opening up and popping their furry cocoons.

If I have a chance, I should return to the Magnolia Glade in Kew Gardens and if I have a few more hours, then the Magnolia Walk at the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Hampshire really ought to be visited. Even out of flower, it is quite a sight. In flower, it must be amazing.

Magnolias of course were absent from my last post from The Savill Garden. Impressive, primal flowers from a time before bees and such-like pollinators – beetles are their hand-maidens – and now’s the time to get out and see them at their best.

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