I’m breaking some rules here. But it’s OK because the rules are rather informal, and they’re rules I set for myself. I’d planned to highlight only plants from my own garden in these monthly “plant of the month” posts. Instead, I’m focusing this time on a tree I wish I had a place for: Magnolia stellata.
I’ve always had a thing for Magnolias of all species—they signify sweet transitions for me. Perhaps it’s because they were in glorious full bloom on the perfect May day I graduated from college. Is that possible? Yes, I remember it very clearly. Are they blooming early this year? Apparently. The Morton Arboretum lists the normal bloom time for M. stellata in the Chicago area (about 80 miles south of here) as mid-April. That’s another rule I’m breaking: posting about a plant that normally doesn’t bloom here in this month.
I’m also pretty sure the species blooming on my graduation day was a saucer or tulip type Magnolia—possibly M. soulangiana or M. sargentiana—both of which peak a little later in the season (although they’re starting to bloom here now, too). It was south of here, though—at the Iowa state capitol building. M. stellata is a star Magnolia.
Magnolias, which are among the most ancient groups of flowering plants, include a multitude of species worldwide. But I couldn’t pin down the actual number. I must have checked about 20 sources, and the number of Magnolia species ranged from 80 to 240. Unfortunately, many of them are endangered, which is a shame because they’re awe-inspiring.
M. stellata broke bud here last Sunday, and rains and winds since then have caused some petal drop. But not before I had a chance to capture the magic of the transition.
I’m taking a short break from blogging for a week. Not because I don’t want to do it, but because it’s good to take breaks from all tasks—even those we enjoy. I’ll be practicing some photography skills, and hopefully I’ll have some fun shots to share on the other side. “See” you in April!