September 6th, 2010 permalink
Maybe it happens every year, but I’ve never noticed a second blooming of magnolias before. These pictures were taken on August 1st on two different trees in downtown Brighton, Michigan. Normally, these trees are show-stoppers in early spring when the blooms open before the leaves unfurl.
The trees weren’t covered with flowers during this second (or maybe very late first) blooming but each had a scattering of opening buds. I couldn’t find any definitive references online, but apparently some of the 210 Magnolia varieties do bloom in (or into) mid-summer. Interesting.
April 20th, 2010 permalink
If you walked the Earth 20 million years ago, you might have seen the ancestors of these blooms. Magnolias are an ancient species that evolved before bees. They were pollinated by beetles instead. Their bloom is very short here in the north. It seems that, once the flowers fully open, a storm rolls through and rips them apart. The whole cycle usually happens within 3-5 days, but this year has been different. We had days near 80 degrees that encouraged the flowers to open followed by plunging temperatures with daytime temps in the 40s and 50s that preserved the flowers. I never realized how fragrant they can be until I stood near this tree to photograph it.