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A New Zealand Gardener's Guide

Rosemary Barrett
Photographs by Derek Hughes
David Bateman Ltd

MAGNOLIAS are surely one of the most beautiful of all deciduous flowering trees, their bold flowers carried on bare stems in late winter and spring. But their lush foliage, striking form and woolly buds ensure that these are not just fleeting seasonal beauties, but wonderful specimen trees year-round.

MagnoliasRosemary Barrett is clearly a mad-keen magnolia enthusiast, and her passion is apparent in the lively text. Her writing style is a joy - no-nonsense and lacking the stuffiness that sometimes seeps into specialist books of this nature.

Derek Hughes' photographs are gorgeous too, capturing the glory of the cup-shaped soulangeana types through to the delicate star-shaped blooms of the Magnolia stellata types and the glossy green foliage and creamy flowers of the evergreen species.

There is a wealth of practical advice for planting, from choosing the best site for these stunning trees, to the optimum soil conditions for both deciduous and evergreen varieties.


Find out how to landscape with magnolias with tips for small gardens, large gardens, shady corners and courtyards. And if you're wondering what to plant with your new trees, there are loads of suggestions for groundcovers, shrubs and other trees that go well with magnolias.

If you want to grow your own trees, check out the propagation chapter to learn how to raise magnolias from both seed and cuttings (although the author warns that she believes this should be left to expert horticulturists with specialist equipment.)

MagnoliasI especially liked the chapters titled For Those Who Can Wait and For Those Who Cannot Wait - covering suitable hybrids and species for patient gardeners and those of us who prefer instant gratification. The Jury hybrids are great for fast effects, and Rosemary shares her favourite varieties for classy flowers in cream, pink and deep cerise.

Rare and special magnolias also feature, from the tulip-like Magnolia amoena from China to the spectacular creamy-flowered Magnolia delavayi, which is grown mainly for its dramatic evergreen foliage.

All in all, an excellent book which makes a fascinating read while imparting an incredible amount of knowledge.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 96, April 11-24, 2002, Page 28

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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