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It’s hard to imagine there was a time I didn’t lust for specific trees. Not that far back, I could identify maples and conifers, and that’s about it. Now my list explodes with possibility. If you love tropical-looking, big gorgeous fragrant flowers, and quick gratification–Magnolia macrophylla var. ashei is just the tree for you. I found my at Cistus Nursery, and though it’s been in a pot for the past two years–awaiting placement in our new garden at Flamingo Park–it bloomed its wee heart this past season.

bud, year 2, getting serious


Ashe Magnolia -- big leaves & big flowers
Ashe Magnolia — big leaves & big flowers


And the Ashe Magnolia plays well with other tropicals. I consider most of these annuals, though, I do overwinter the banana, because it’s super easy. (Shake off dirt. Wrap in newspaper. Throw in basement.)


potted tropical-looking for the summer garden
potted tropicals for the summer garden


I’ve had such a hard time deciding where to site my Ashe Magnolia, because I want to be able see it as often as possible. Before we settled keeping the apple tree, I’d planned to put it where that tree now casts a shadow, near the patio. Instead, it’s replacing of an old overgrown–and not in a good way–Rhododendron just outside the patio fence. The Rhodie came out via the tree dudes last summer, but they’d left the stump. Enter team men with mallet and pick ax.




Now I’ll be able to see my lovely big-leaf beauty from kitchen and patio–with a bonus of making it visible to my new neighbors. I can’t wait until they trust me enough to accept my guerilla gardening ways.


big gorgeous leaves of Ashe Magnolia
big gorgeous leaves of Ashe Magnolia