My boundaries enclose a pleasant land;
indeed, I have a goodly heritage. Psalm 16:6
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Sweet Bay Magnolia
This is Magnolia virginiana, the Sweet Bay Magnolia. I think it's a lovely thing. I do admire the big Southern Magnolia but my neighbors have them and they have maintenance issues. For starters, they get huge and I don't have room for another huge tree. Sweet Bay grows to about dogwood size with a shrubby, multi-stemmed habit. Southern Magnolia leaves are very tough, leathery things that do not break down well. They and the big seed heads have to be raked and won't even compost well. I like the color of the Sweet Bay leaves, light green on top and silver below. The flowers have a light, almost lemony scent and a nice waxy substance.
I live and garden in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
In 2000 I bought a house on a very ordinary .4 acre subdivision lot. It was a demonstration project for landscaping mistakes that had had 30+ years to mature. I spent two years ripping out overgrown evergreens and since then have been replanting with flowering, fruiting things, many of them east coast native plants.
My interest in planting for wildlife began as an attempt to create an enriched environment for the cats but has developed into a belief that plants in the landscape should earn their keep by providing food or shelter for someone, man or beast.
These are several of the things that inspired me to reduce the size of my lawn and give more space to native trees and shrubs: