Winter - Hedge and Stone

Magnificent Magnolias

Posted by | Courtyard Garden, Garden Advice, Garden Design, Landscape Advice, Magnolia, Mulching, Ornamental Trees, Uncategorized, Winter | No Comments

magnolia-soulangeana_magnolia-genie-flowerHeralding the coming of spring, Magnolias, especially the deciduous varieties hold a special place in the hearts of many a gardener with their stunning displays of large, fragrant blooms on elegant naked branches. Originating in Asia there are over 100 species and unnumbered cultivars. They are well adapted to Australian conditions and provided you give them a good position and adequate food and water they will reward you for many years.

Magnolias can be a little sulky for the first few years so feed them well when you first plant them with a good compost, build a well around the base of the trunk to direct water into the root zone and mulch well to keep the roots moist and cool. Choose a north or east facing position with shelter from hot winds and frost.

Here are 10 of our favorites with a brief description and their height and width noted so you can make a good choice for your site:

Deciduous varieties

magnolia_x_soulangeana_flowers_16-03-11_1-2Magnolia x soulangeana
cv. 3m X 3m; one of the old varieties and the basis of many cultivars Magnolia x soulangeana is perhaps the most common Magnolia seen in Melbourne gardens.

Magnolia_stellata_RJBMagnolia stellata 1.5m X 1.5m; a slow-growing medium-sized deciduous shrub of broadly rounded habit, flowering in early spring. This Magnolia is particularly stunning because of it fine white petals. It also comes in a pink variety Magnolia stellate rosea.

Magnolia-Caerhays-Belle2-590by387Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’ 7m X 5m; a very narrow, fastigiate shape, excellent for a small garden because it needs almost no pruning and has a beautiful fragrance.

Magnolia Philip TMagnolia ‘Phillip Tregunna’ 5m X 3m; an upright tree, with a vivid purple flower and a beautiful fragrance.

Magnolia rubyMagnolia ‘Ruby’ 3m X 2m; a beauty because of the beautiful, exquisite shape of the bud and also a white edge around each of the petals. Does well in a smaller garden and can be pruned to shape.

Magnolia vulcanMagnolia ‘Vulcan‘ 3m X 2m; a hybrid raised in New Zealand. The flowers are large, wine red and lightly perfumed.

Magnolia elizabethMagnolia ‘Elizabeth’ 4m X 2.5m; with perfumed primrose yellow fading to cream coloured flowers. It is later flowering than other magnolia varieties blossoming in late spring.

magnolia-royal-purpleMagnolia ‘Royal Purple’ 3.5m X 1.2m; a beautiful new magnolia from New Zealand; a narrow yet stunning column with 20cm cup and saucer shaped blooms, dark red purple with a gorgeous perfume. A great choice for a small space.

Evergreen varieties

magnolia Little gemMagnolia ‘Little Gem’ 5m X 2.5m; a very popular plant used as an ornamental lawn tree or as for screening and even hedging. It is an outstanding variety of Magnolia grandiflora with a compact habit, deep green discolourous leaves and large white blooms.

 Magnolia st maryMagnolia ‘St Mary’ 6m X 3m: A wider growing variety with large glossy apple green leaves. It is a hardy and versatile plant that will tolerate a range of conditions and is relatively pest and disease free. During the warmer months it produces beautiful, creamy-white, fragrant flowers and will flower from an early age.

Winter…where did my garden go?

Posted by | Garden Advice, Garden Design, Landscape Advice, Winter | No Comments

Cherry Blossom

At first glance, your garden may appear to be barely alive in the long, dark cold days of winter. Most of the deciduous plants will be skeletal versions of their springtime selves, the ground hard and bare where all the spring and summer perennials have rotted away, the summer grasses yellowing off…a general sense of stillness that could be mistaken for lifelessness pervades.

Appearances, as we know, can be very misleading. This period of stillness that occurs in our gardens is an essential time in the lifecycle of our plants. In fact, this dormancy allows us to enjoy many of things we consider most valuable in our gardens; foliage, flowers and fruit!

For many of the plants that originate in colder climates, winter is a time for conserving nutrients, rebuilding tissues and a whole bunch of other unseen yet essential chemical processes.

Deciduous plants typically lose their leaves; as the temperature drops the plants metabolism slows, resulting in a decrease in chlorophyll – the chemical used to turn sunlight into energy – which also gives leaves their green pigment. As the chlorophyll production stalls during the cold, the leaves of many deciduous trees, such as Liquidambar styraciflua – turn from green, to gold, to that lovely deep red we all love.

We all notice the summer grasses such as buffalo, kikuyu and couch yellowing off, with growth slowing to next to nothing. Most of us count this as a bonus of the cold weather…no mowing! These are winter dormant rhizomatous grasses and all return with renewed vigor as soon as the spring arrives.

During winter, while all but appearing dead, many trees hide their buds beneath layers of bud scales and actually need to be chilled for a period of time to cause them to burst forth into flower and foliage – cherry trees are one such tree. Bulbs are another garden favorite that require a sustained drop in temperature to promote growth. No cold, no flowers!

Apples need over a 1000 hours exposure to temperatures below 7°c to ensure the production of a hormone that initiates spring growth…no cold, no apples!

So there is magic going on quietly, beneath the cold surface in our winter gardens.

Gardening in Winter?

Posted by | Landscape Advice, Winter | No Comments

Gardening in winter

Not too cold for some…

Winter in Melbourne can be cold and gloomy and we are all happiest snug inside our warm homes…the last thing we are thinking about is our gardens and outdoor areas…however, there are a few reasons why winter is a fantastic time to consider revamping your outdoor spaces… Read More

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