Almost symbolic of the southern parts of the country, the Magnolia grows well here and when in bloom it fills the air with a pungent lemony scent that somehow seems appropriate for a relaxed afternoon having tea on the porch. It’s sturdy singular trunk has branches that seem to go on forever, creating a low-to-the-ground canopy that can spread from 8 to 12 feet. Their crown is a wide oval that seldom tops 35 feet which gives it a sort of comfort factor with its dark green leaves shadowing the ground below. It’s 10 inch leaves are always falling with new ones replacing them all year around.
Some enthusiasts have actually trained them to espalier—you’d need a good amount of space for these huge leaves and flowers to show off to their advantage. Other fans have used them as screens; hard to imagine breathing the air with that many flowers—it is a rather overwhelming scent. You’ll see paintings of the beloved tree in southern art galleries, street festivals and flea markets. They sell like hot cakes. Amazing.
Magnolias are also grown in a dwarf variety to get the same look on a smaller scale.