When I started the garden I planned to plant one magnolia a year, the aim being to have something of a ‘magnolia walk’ eventually. The first two died. It was my fault, trying to run before I could walk and planting them before I had dug over the soil, got enough soil conditioner to improve the soil and the misfortune of that hot, dry spell in 2018 – before we had power so could not get water from the well to water. To make up for it I planted two this year, and last year, and of the 2019 crop, one is flowering. (The other is ‘Daphne’ and flowers later). So here is ‘Heaven Scent’. It grew well last year and is rewarding me for looking after it with a satisfying six flowers open at once. I know that this is pretty dull to those of you with mature magnolias but it gives me hope!
Despite the strong winds of Sunday the flowers hung on and are opening nicely. ‘Heaven Scent’ was raised in California by Todd Gresham in the 1950s so is pretty old. He produced thousands of seedlings and this was one of the first series he called ‘Svelte Brunettes’. It is a hybrid of Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’ x M. veitchii and has an AGM. The flowers are pale pink, striped with deeper pink and are supposed to be very fragrant though I must admit that I am not very convinced, as yet. Maybe a warmer day may help. (STOP PRESS – Today was a sunny day and I had a good sniff and it is indeed very fragrant and pleasant.) It is supposed to be a compact tree, suitable for smaller gardens and I would assume, with Magnolia liliiflora in its ancestry that it will produce some later, summer flowers when mature. Either way, it has grown and flowered and for that I am grateful.