grow, marvel, eat, laugh, persevere

Monday, April 21, 2008

An Earth Day Eve Abomination

Today I drove all over creation looking for foundation shrubs/trees. The absurdity of this is magnified by the fact that gas is like a million dollars a gallon and I don't have a hybrid. Part of the day I was thinking how great it would be to plant all my new stuff on Earth Day tomorrow but at some point I just started thinking THIS IS INSANE! NO TREE I PLANT WILL MAKE UP FOR THE EMISSIONS FROM THIS STUPID SHOPPING TRIP!

The worst part is that I couldn't find what I wanted. I'm in Magnolia hell, people! The lady at big expensive garden center says "oh you don't want a magnolia, the frost gets them in this area...why don't you try this Redbud Forest Pansy? It blooms later and only gets 8-10 feet tall." OK but I need to research this. So I get home and nothing, NOTHING I found on the internet says those things are 8-10 feet tall. They all say like 20-30 feet. WTH? To top it off, some of the other stuff I read says that the Star Magnolia is usually kept to 8-10 feet tall. That's what I wanted in the first place! There are Magnolia Jane's all over creation but for some reason I can't bring myself to buy one. Shopping the dead plant section at the end of the season was so much easier than this! So, here are my options for the front foundation tree...

Magnolia Jane
Magnolia Ann
Magnolia Leonard something or other
Royal Star Magnolia
Redbud Forest Pansy
Other fabulous small flowering tree (make a suggestion)

So, what should I do?


  1. Yes, sometimes driving around to all the various garden centers and nurseries to find the right trees and shrubs can be maddening and seem so wasteful. I like to call around but sometimes it is hard to get someone to take the time to help over the phone.

    Get the Royal Star Magnolia! It appears to be a double flowering Star Magnolia. Who cares if every so often it gets frozen out? The springs when it doesn't it will stop traffic in front of your house with its beauty!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  2. carol - thanks for the suggestion. You don't think the royal star will be too big for my space?

  3. We like our Star Magnolia a lot, although its already like... 6 feet tall and probably... 4-5 feet wide. Its so pretty right now with all its flowers on the bare wood branches. But after the flowers it will just be a "boring" green leafy tree. lol! But I can vouch that despite our incredibly shitty FP soil, the thing seems damn happy.

  4. Gina, I would be very concerned that the Star Magnolia will outgrow your space. When I get a chance, I will post photos of my Star Magnolia, which was planted in a bad place & has seriously outgrown its spot. I can't move it because Magnolias don't transplant well. I don't know what cultivar mine is (or whether it is the straight species). It's taller than my gutters. Find a named cultivar that grows the height you need. And don't give up, these Magnolias are so worth it.

  5. Gina: The Forest Pansy redbud is a lovely little tree but they are not long lived. I love the Star Magnolia, so pure and white but it will get quite big. How about a small crabapple? They bloom later and will take full sun and have the added bonus of crabapples! Good luck with your decision.

  6. Gina, in the next few days I will post a picture of my 'Ann' magnolia. It is full grown. I also have a 'Forest Pansy' redbud, but it has just been in a few years, but a customer of mine has one that is probably 8' tall, and just as wide. Ther aren't many trees that will stay smaller than 6', have you thought of using a large shrub instead?
    I agree with j-dog, after the star magnolia blooms, it is boring for the rest of the year.

  7. Get what you want! We only live once (as far as we know).

  8. What about a serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis, may also be known as a Juneberry, Shadblow, or Shadbush)?

  9. I'm struggling to decide between a star magnolia and a serviceberry myself. (I'm up close to the Wisconsin border, so maybe the serviceberry will be heartier.)