I wish I could share the heady, sweet, warm and complex scent of these voluptuous magnolias: sadly all I have is memories and photos. If you’ve inhaled their perfume in the past, try drawing on your scent memory as you look at the pictures – it works at least a little for me!
Here in Northern England, their flowers are often browned by late frosts, but more I have chance to travel in the Southern States of America, the more attached I grow to magnolias. No wonder that when Mississippi’s state flower was chosen by schoolchildren, over half plumped for these glorious flowering trees.
Magnolia grandiflora, the giant evergreen with big, white blooms, is the one most closely associated with the South, but I think I like the deciduous magnolias most of all – their flowers look so unearthly dancing on bare branches with their faces lifted up to the sun.