Spring is springing

Despite a cold snap arriving today, we’ve had a very mild winter and Nature is beginning to throw off her blankets of hibernation. Here are some photos that I hope will get your sap rising and excited about the garden again.

A tui gets serious about feeding in a Prunus campanulata. Photo: Sandra Simpson

They may be weedy in our warm climate, but the early flowering Prunus campanulata make spirits soar with their bright colour and branches full of nectar-feeding birds. One of the main roads in Tauranga has a stretch of P. campanulata as street trees but with their habit of spreading through the landscape, as they come to the end of their lives, they are being replaced with other types of tree. 

I understand that P. campanulata Pink Cloud, bred by the late Felix Jury, is a sterile form (but not as vivid), while P. campanulata Felix Jury and Mimosa are also sterile with the former a brighter colour. Read an informative article about P. campanulata in New Zealand here.

Speaking of Felix Jury and red flowers, here’s a picture of his hybrid Magnolia Vulcan, a real stunner if you have room for it.

Magnolia Vulcan. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Magnolia doltsopa, also known as Michelia doltsopa or sweet michelia, has its leaves on when it flowers but you’d hardly know, so covered in sweet-scented white flowers is it. We have a large tree on a verge near our home and I always wonder how safe the traffic is as it’s so eye-catching.

Perhaps in homage, the council is planting a nearby street with M doltsopa.

Magnolia doltsopa. Photo: Sandra Simpson

M. doltsopa Silver Cloud came out of Duncan and Davies in the 1950s or 60s. The Magnolia Grove website has information about New Zealand-made magnolia hybrids. Magnolia Grove has released the Genie (2011) and Cameo (2013) hybrids, with Genie surviving -24C in Hungary!

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4 thoughts on “Spring is springing

  1. I did a double-take at the ‘spring is springing’, then remembered you live in NZ! I love the Tui on the prunus – beautiful photograph.

    I love Magnolia Vulcan. I did plant a young tree in one of my (English) gardens once, but it took ages to settle in. In fact, it was finally starting to do well and we moved. I didn’t have the heart to move it since it finally got happy, so hoping the new people liked it. Your photo reminded me how beautiful it is, particularly against that Southern blue sky. One day I’ll get it again. Until then, I’ll have to enjoy your pics 🙂

    • Hello Julieanne,

      I’ve been eyeing up the magnolias tagged “suitable for smaller gardens” or “upright growing” for a couple of years now, but so far haven’t convinced the Vege Grower that we do indeed have the space. They look magnificent against clear blue skies or, indeed, the white ones also against thundery, grey clouds. Thanks for stopping by and so glad you enjoyed the photos.

  2. Thanks for dropping by and commenting Abbie – the information I’ve posted about P. campanulata Felix Jury and Mimosa came from the linked article by Glyn Church, “seems both these forms are sterile”, while the information on Pink Cloud being sterile came from your Tikorangi website. If some of this is wrong, I’m more than happy to correct/update. Otherwise I have referred to P. campanulata being “weedy” here and, unfortunately, they are (in fact, I’ll make that clearer now). Thanks again and please let me know if other changes/clarifications are needed.

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