Photo by NK Photography

Magnolias are such a stunning flower, with their big blooms and vividly coloured leaves.

These very hardy plants produce a delicate looking and fragrant flower that is a delight to the senses when it blooms in the spring.  Encased in furry buds that open to a loose looking flower, the magnolia  bloom is most magnificent when the branches of the tree are still bare and the flowers appear in late winter.

Some blooms are pure white, some are deep pink and white and some, such as the Star Magnolia (Magnolia Stellata )  are tinged with pink when they first open, fading to white. The Star Magnolia has a loose petalled flower, whereas others such as Magnolia x ‘Black Tulip’ bear flowers that are tulip shaped and burgundy in colour.

The most spectacular of these plants is shown in the picture above – Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’. Glossy green leaves with rust coloured suede like undersides are as much a feature of this plant as the beautiful creamy white scented blossoms. Stunning in large floral arrangements, or on its own in a simple bouquet wrapped in rust or green ribbon it will take your breath away. Other Magnolia species look elegant just grouped in large clear vases to show off their bare stems with the surprise of the flowers higher up.
Related to the Magnolia is the Michelia. Similar in looks to the Magnolia, with clear white flower petals around yellow stamens and fresh green leaves, it is also scented. The flower buds are encased in rust coloured coverings, and when the petals drop off there are twigs left with the now darker coloured stamens still attached. Try Michelia yunnanensis ‘Scented Pearl’.