Thursday, April 10, 2008

Daffodils and Magnolias

The Daffodils a.k.a. Narcissus are blooming in colorful drifts of cream to yellow and orange throughout Powell Gardens. If you have not been to Powell Gardens in a while we have planted more than 100,000 more bulbs in the past couple seasons. The early magnolias are also in full bloom -- foliated in fragrant flowers of blush pink and white.

Larkwhistle Daffodil is a Cyclamineus Narcissus that has naturalized well over the past seven years on the Island Garden (in front of the arbor).
Here a drift of Tete-a-tete and a few Jetfire Narcissus contrast with blue-flowering Siberian Squills (Scilla sibirica) in the Rock & Waterfall Garden.
Star Magnolia's (Magnolia stellata) elegant and fragrant white flowers have really shone this spring. They have attracted more insects than usual because they are blooming nearly a month behind schedule. Painted Lady and Question Mark butterflies as well as myriads of honeybees have been visiting their blossoms.
A Star Magnolia is foliated in flowers with no leaves to take away from their exuberance. They leaf out after flowering.
A honeybee visits the bloom of Leonard Messel Magnolia (Magnolia x loebneri 'Leonard Messel'). Leonard Messel has turned out to be one of the hardiest of all spring blooming "precocious" magnolias. It was a chance seedling in an English Garden and originally thought to be hardy only to zone7. Luckily gardeners are always trying plants to test their limits and we now know this hybrid is hardy through zone 4 and one of the best for the Minneapolis-St.Paul region. It does great in Greater Kansas City too, having blooms that are tolerant of some frost.
All photographs taken by Alan Branhagen at Powell Gardens on April 7, 2008.

No comments: