I have always wanted to grow Magnolia grandiflora. Well perhaps not always, for a considerable time all I wanted was to marry David Essex, but it has been ensconced on my Wish List since my horticultural reincarnation. I first became aware of its existence when I met the monumental specimens growing against Ashton Court House in the leafy periphery of Bristol. This evergreen tree can reach up to 30m tall so is not something you can tuck into a corner of the garden, but it is relatively slow-growing so can perhaps be left for future caretakers to worry about. It can be grown as a wall shrub or a stand alone specimen and produces lemon fragrant clotted cream coloured waxy flowers in late summer. It is native to the south-eastern states of the USA and is therefore a little on the tender side.
So when I was perusing the many treasures contained in a Somerset nursery (Middlecombe, brilliant, go there but don’t buy any plants that I want) and I came across this plant at a crazy price I just had to have it. This cultivar Magnolia grandiflora “Victoria” has achieved the RHS Award of Garden Merit and if it is good enough for those chaps then it is good enough for us mere mortals. It is planted in the bottom garden against the retaining wall. In truth this is an inhospitable place, open to the elements and in soil politely described as “dire”. A pampered planting and fingers crossed and it seems to have got its toes in and if the shiny new leaves are anything to go by (promise no Mr Sheen has been used) it is healthy and happy.
Just in case you have tuned in David, for you I am still available.