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I bought this little Magnolia maudiae two seasons ago. It was fresh and lovely at Xera Nursery. How could I resist? There was just one, and I snatched it up.

Brand new fresh tree at home. Looks good, no?


Of course, I always buy first and think about where to plant second. I’m sure I’m in good company on this front–though I hear some people plan before they buy.

I decided a new round bed was in order. Isn’t less grass always the solution?

Second round bed with singular tree, September 2017.


Two round beds also make a terrific race circuit for Chiquita with her BFF Beezus Marie.

Chiquita and Beezus on the double bed race circuit. Life is grand!


Initially, I thought to plant only this one tree in the second bed. You know that joke you play on yourself. After all, where am I going to put all those other plants I buy and don’t plan for? And what about plants I’m given that I can’t live without? A bed with only one plant. As if.

This is the first round bed. As you can see, there is more than just one plant.

First round bed, with more than one plant.


The first season, I added a wee birdbath to the second round bed. And that was supposed to be temporary. Apparently not. Oh, and that marble block. I have several from an estate sale years ago. Those things move around in the garden always looking for more perfect placement.

Magnolia maudiae looking decent in its second season. January 2019


I was pretty excited to see all those buds in January.

There will be flowers.


And then Mother Nature tricked us. It was not spring and the weather took a cold dip.

Uh oh. Brown edges on the pretty blooms.


Still kind of gorgeous. I wasn’t sure what it meant for the overall health of the tree. What I don’t know is a lot.

Try not to panic.


As it turns out, the brown edges were temporary. The newer flowers look amazing.

Brown edges all but gone.


And a wider shot.

White and green. What could be better?


And see that Phormium planted there. What else was I supposed to do? I’ve also slipped in a couple Fuchsias and an experiment Paeonia. (Experimental in that Chiquita knocked the emerging tip off a lovely Peony, and I popped it in a pot of soil to see what would happen. Then it grew! So I thought it was work a shot. I’ll keep you posted.)

Paeonia x ‘Krinkled White’ — possibly. The plant Chiquita, uh, trial propagated, let’s say.


A closer look. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if the little start took off? But another thing I don’t know. Or else it could work–in a hundred years or so. I’ll keep you posted.

Paeonia x ‘Krinkled White’ aka Krinkled White Peony (I think.)

But I digress.

I love this little Smiling Monkey Forest Tree’s undulating ways. It’s pretty, even with a little brown edging. And the foliage is dynamite. Maybe that’s been my best lesson from gardening. Perfection is in the eye of the beholder. That–and that I’m going to need a few more Magnolias.