Shepparton News

MAGNIFICEN­T MAGNOLIAS

BE READY TO GREET BLOOMING MAJESTIC MAGNOLIAS AS THEY HERALD WEATHER CHANGE AND END TO WINTER

- By Caitlin Cassidy

Is there anything quite as gorgeous as the wafting scent of a magnolia tree on a balmy evening?

It may be a little harder to smell the perfume behind our masks this year, but their beauty can still be appreciate­d while socially distanced.

Around 210 flowering plant species of magnolias exist in the sub-family Magnolioid­eae — first named in 1703 after renowned French botanist Pierre Magnol.

Many of the diverse species in the Magnolioid­eae family can happily grow in the Goulburn Valley.

An ancient genus, magnolias date back 95 million years and existed before garden-loving, pollinatin­g bees had roamed the earth.

It is theorised their tough flowers evolved to encourage pollinatio­n by ancient beetles. Nowadays, their bursting into bloom often arrives like a friendly and warm welcome, signalling the end of winter and beginning of spring.

No matter where you live, magnolia trees can make a magnificen­t statement piece in virtually any garden — big or small.

Their shallow root system doesn’t disturb undergroun­d pipes, foundation­s or pathways, and many varieties grow well in tubs or compact spaces.

Evergreen magnolias grow in most areas and climates, while deciduous magnolias flower in late winter and are best suited to cooler areas.

If you live in a smaller space, the royal star magnolia blooms with white starshaped flowers with a sweet honey fragrance and can grow well in tubs.

If you’re looking for something a little more grand, the atlas tree bursts with blooms in the shape of a cognac glass with deep, blushing pink petals.

The tree rounds out to 6 m with age and flowers early.

Magnolia trees grow best in full sun or part shade and need to be protected from harsh winds lest its foliage be damaged.

Amid rising COVID-19 cases, damning reports on climate change and endless lockdowns, it has been a delight for newsroom staff to admire the flowering magnolia petals outside the News canteen.

There’s nothing like the simple elegance of nature to ground us back to earth.

I hope News readers can enjoy the lovely scent of a magnolia tree soon — we certainly need it.

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 ?? Picture: Vikki Woodhouse ?? In full blast: A magnolia tree in a Shepparton home. Magnolia trees add a beautiful splash of colour at the end of winter.
Picture: Vikki Woodhouse In full blast: A magnolia tree in a Shepparton home. Magnolia trees add a beautiful splash of colour at the end of winter.
 ??  ?? Ready for change: The ancient magnolia tree can be a reminder of the end of winter.
Ready for change: The ancient magnolia tree can be a reminder of the end of winter.
 ??  ?? Glorious: A magnolia tree in a Mooroopna garden.
Glorious: A magnolia tree in a Mooroopna garden.

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