By Phran Novelli
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - With flowers the size of your hand, they’re easy to see, but you may catch their aroma wafting down the block even before you spot them – that’s our Magnolia grandiflora, blooming about now. The ‘Southern Magnolia’ is a welcome sight and scent in summer, but it’s also pretty the rest of the year.
When the flowers finish, distinctive pineapple-shaped fruits form which open in fall showing bright red seeds that feed squirrels, opossums and quail. Its large evergreen leaves – used in winter arrangements – have an underside that’s often fuzzy, which, along with their shiny top coating, protects the leaves from harsh weather.
Magnolia grandiflora is native to the southeastern US, from about Virginia on south, but these days there are lots of cultivars that do great in our zones; so, it’s easier to grow a southern Magnolia around here than ever before. Over time, it grows to be a stately tree that can become a beautiful specimen in your front yard, backyard, or as a centerpiece in your garden.