Beautiful Buds Part Two

This is Magnolia laevifolia formally known as Michelia yunnanensis (a bit like the artist formerly known as Prince).  It comes from the Yunan province of China, a vast area in the south in which half of the species of the country can be found.   The cinnamon coloured flower buds are formed early in the year and remain on the plant all winter.   They are, unusually for a magnolia, produced along the stem and in the leaf axils and are covered by eminently strokable downy leaf scales.  These fall away in the spring to reveal delicately scented waxy white flowers with prominent yellow stamen.  If left to its own devices it will grow to between 6-12 feet both in height and width, but can be pruned, preferably after flowering, to maintain a manageable size or even to form a fragrant hedge.  It is a new plant to the garden, arriving in the autumn, and is apparently not too keen on sea winds.  It is planted on the Lawn Beds protected by planting to the seaward side and so far no complaints. The oval evergreen leaves along with the beautiful buds and fragrant flowers ensure that this plant truly has year round interest.

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