NEW Trips to Take!

Myrtle's easy when the conditions are right.

 
 
 
 

NEW Plants to Try!

Louis tries to capture the exact words to describe the fleeting but deep pleasures to be found in these Summer-into-Autumn incredibles.

 
 
 
 

New Gardening to Do!

Allergic to bees? You can still have an exciting garden, full of flowers and color and wildlife.

 
 
 
 

A Gardening Journal

Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Southern Magnolia, Happier than Ever

magnolia-grandiflora-brackens-brown-beauty-072710-320

 

Happy plants grow bigger.  Well, duh.  Today I realized that by growing so many of them as espaliers right alongside my property's structures, I'm providing just the handy comparison—the structures—needed to monitor, year by year, just how "happy" some of my plants really are.

 

Two southern magnolias have been espaliering themselves (with no little help for me) up the west face of my house for many years.  By 2010, they were comfortably into their second story. 

 

Two years later?  Just look.

magnolia-grandiflora-brackens-brown-beauty-072710-640

 

 Happy plants grow bigger.  Well, duh.  Today I realized that by growing so many of them as espaliers right alongside my property's structures, I'm providing just the handy comparison—the structures—needed to monitor, year by year, just how "happy" some of my plants really are.

 

I've been espaliering two southern magnolias—Magnolia grandiflora 'Bracken's Brown Beauty'—up the west face of my house for many years.  By 2010, they were comfortably into their second story.

 

Two years later?  The left magnolia is higher than the attic, and the right one isn't far behind.  Last Spring, I extended the espalier frame to the second story, so I could continue to keep a close hand, literally, on the magnolias' progress.

 

magnolia-grandiflora-brackens-brown-beauty-overall-122912-640

 

The first story of the frame is now completely obscured by the magnolias' lustrous, profuse foliage.  It's likely that the second story will be clothed in just another year or two. 

 

While there's plenty of filling-in to do around the second story window, it's already time to start shaping the top of the left magnolia to the roof line.  A few minutes of pruning is all it takes—after I've dragged out the extension ladder and, staying careful as well as confident, climb up.

 

Here's a look at this magnolia's marvelous bright-orange seeds, as well as the link to the article on how to grow its near-cousin, Magnolia grandiflora 'Edith Bogue', which kindly requests the same good soil, warmth, and sun.

 
 
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