Magnolias are blooming this month and how could you miss them. They come in all shapes and sizes, most deciduous but the largest is evergreen – Magnolia grandiflora. These are the huge trees with buttress roots you see driving into Mission Bay on Tamaki Drive. They form a tunnel over the road. There is a smaller version ‘Little gem’ which still grows to 4m. They are a popular hardy landscape tree with large white flowers. Some gardeners complain about their big leaves which drop & don’t break down quickly. Florists love the leaves and use them to good effect in arrangements.

Their deciduous relations put on a fantastic floral display while their branches are still bare. Even in late July, August they look like “spring is here”. There are over 80 different varieties of magnolia trees native to the eastern United States and southeastern Asia. The flowers are unique in the fact that they do not have true petals and sepals, but are instead composed of complex structures called tepals. Flower colours range from whites to pinks and purples. They are generally a medium sized tree & popular in home gardens with an exotic theme. They would look great lining a long drive, or can be just as dramatic with a single specimen in the right place.