Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Magnolia: Southern Style Beauty

Inside view of magnolia blossom.

Majestic flower! How purely beautiful
Thou art, as rising from thy bower of green,
Those dark and glossy leaves so thick and full,
Thou standest like a high-born forest queen
Among thy maidens clustering round so fair,--
I love to watch thy sculptured form unfolding,
And look into thy depths, to image there
A fairy cavern, and while thus beholding,
And while thy breeze floats o'er thee, matchless flower,
I breathe the perfume, delicate and strong,
That comes like incense from thy petal-bower;
My fancy roams those southern woods along,
Beneath that glorious tree, where deep among
The unsunned leaves thy large while flowercups hung!

~ Christopher Pearce Cranch, "Poem to the Magnolia Grandiflora"
On the grounds of Waverly Plantation near Columbus, Mississippi there stands a huge magnolia tree that is at least five feet in diameter. It is original to the property and has survived tornados, wind storms, hail and all manner of natural insults. It survived almost 50 years of complete neglect during the time the plantation house was vacant and inhabited by possum and raccoon. They say this tree is probably over 200 years old. Every Spring during the first week in May, the fragrant white blooms begin to open. This happens like clockwork, folks don't have to consult a calendar to know it's May 'round these parts, just take a gander at the giant magnolia, yep, it's May alright. Never mind that March and April have been cooler or warmer than usual, the tree just KNOWS it's time to's May.

Magnolia blossom (pics by srp)


jen/southgirl said...

Magnolias are known for their beauty, as well as being known for the best trees to climb!! :)

Dana said...

I love magnolia trees. My grandfather has one by his house that is huge. I used to climb it and read all day long in it's branches. I wish they grew up here, but all we have is a northern variety that isn't the same.

poopie said...

Ummm...they smell like heaven, and look like it too. It's sad how a bloom doesn't last long after you break it off.

mensa B said...

How they struggle to bloom and become such a a lovely and perfect form of nature, is a miracle. And to be there just at the right time, is like catching the peak of a sunrise ....magnificent!

Idgie @ the "Dew" said...

I adore Magnolia Trees. I worry though - so many near where I live are on very old properties that are now being sold, abandonded or graded over. These old beautiful trees are quite endangered around here.

Stacie said...

They are so very beautiful! I was going to plant one in my yard, they do very well around here, then I visited the DC area a couple of years ago in the spring and went up to the tree to smell the flowers up close....heavenly, then I turned around to walk back to my family and darn near broke my neck slipping on the fallen rotting petals. I vowed then and there to always admire them from afar. Stacie