A small triumph: Magnolia ‘Heaven Scent’

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.





7 Comments on “A small triumph: Magnolia ‘Heaven Scent’”

  1. tonytomeo
    April 7, 2020 at 11:53 am #

    Oh, I remember this one. We grew magnolias in the late 1990s. It did not go well. We were not equipped for them at the time, so much of the crops went bad before we could sell them. They are surprisingly unpopular here, even though they do surprisingly well, even in mild climates.

    • thebikinggardener
      April 7, 2020 at 1:55 pm #

      I wonder why they are not popular there? Quite odd.

      • tonytomeo
        April 7, 2020 at 4:46 pm #

        It is impossible to say. Japanese maples are stupidly popular here, even though they dislike the arid climate. Even though we used to grow them, I dislike them. All the so-called ‘landscapers’ claim to like them to go along with the fad. It would be nice if so-called ‘landscapers’ preferred species that actually want to be here.

        • thebikinggardener
          April 8, 2020 at 11:10 am #

          I have succumbed to one Japanese maple. They grow well here though there is the trend to treat them as patio plants and to put them in pots. A hot, sunny patio is the last place they want to be. I understand the desire for fancy, cut-leaved forms but I don’t think they would look right in a mixed garden like mine and I think the more ordinary forms, which will stand more chance of success here, are lovely enough as it is.

          • tonytomeo
            April 9, 2020 at 2:30 am #

            I would agree, but I have also seen some of the fancier sorts looking spectacular in mixed gardens in other regions, such as the Pacific Northwest. (I try to look at them as someone who can appreciate them more than I do.)

  2. Paddy Tobin
    April 7, 2020 at 11:06 pm #

    A nice magnolia. We have one which really suffered in 2018 but has recovered. Best wishes with them.

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