Plant of the Month
Magnolia species and hybrids
I think many people are surprised to find out that there are Magnolias that can grow in Moscow. That might be because many people picture the broad leaf evergreen Magnolia that is widespread in warmer climates but won’t live here.
The magnolias that do well here are all deciduous, they drop their leaves in the fall. Not all deciduous magnolias are cold hardy enough for Moscow; but quite a few do well here. The magnolias that do well here all flower early in the spring, before they leaf out. That unfortunately also makes them somewhat vulnerable to late spring frosts. The flowers can freeze after they open, and then they turn into unattractive brown mush.
I lived in the Portland area for 7 years, and I think they freeze just as often over there, they just do it about a month earlier. We planted a new cultivar, Magnolia ‘Mercury’ in 2017. It is a Saucer Magnolia selection, which flowers later than other deciduous Magnolias. It won’t open for another couple of weeks, but last year it was very showy.
Spring has finally arrived in Moscow, pretty much a month late. Forsythia, Magnolias and Cherries are only starting flower. I usually think of them peaking around the first of April. Most of my time now is taken up with trying to keep things from growing too much — mowing grass, killing weeds or pruning woody plants. The grass grows about as fast as I can cut it, and there are several swampy spots that will remain impossible to mow for awhile yet.
We are in the beginning phases of some new planting projects. The visible progress is a new set of rock steps leading up from the gravel road to the Asian Pergola. That is the first step in a new collection of Asian and European Yews planted in memory Scott Williams, a long time Arboretum neighbor.
Arboretum Associates Annual Plant Sale
2019 Plant Sale List
Saturday, May 18 from 9 a.m. to noon
Rotary Ice Rink, Latah County Fairgrounds