This year, our Magnolia stellata has found its feet and begun to flower for the first time in this garden.

Magnolia stellata flower

The plant arrived by post some seven or eight years ago: a bareroot plant dispatched in winter – a small twig in a box. It was planted in our first small city garden for little over a year before we moved, when I couldn’t bear to leave it behind, and rather unceremoniously dug it up and plunged it into a pot.

Magnolia stellata flower bud

It turned out to be a particularly canny decision, as within a year of moving we learned that our previous garden had been gravelled over, to leave no trace of the plants we left behind.

Magnolia stellata flower bud

The magnolia graciously accepted life in a pot for a couple of years as we worked on the house and garden, until we could finally plant it out into a newly excavated border once the building works were complete.

Magnolia stellata flower

For a couple of years I have watched its spring buds form rather hopefully for a sign of flowering buds, and this year at last I was rewarded by the sight of a dozen promising furry buds.

Magnolia stellata flower

In the past couple of days, the first buds have split to reveal the delicate rose-washed outer petals tightly encased, which have since unfurled in the sunshine into these beautiful pure white flowers.

Magnolia stellata flower

I love their simplicity, and purity. Such beautiful flowers, and a welcome sight: my patience rewarded.



A long shot for Christina, to put the planting in perspective. Still small in stature, our young magnolia stands at the back of the long border between two thickets of Leycesteria formosa, behind a swathe of fresh Crocosmia foliage and emerging aquilegias.

Small magnolia stellata flowering at the back of the borderOne day it should grow to fill this space, a real tree spangled with these wonderful spidery white flowers. In the meantime, I am just as entranced by this first fragile display!



12 thoughts on “Stellar

  1. oh Sara what a wonderful reward for all your care and patience, how sad to learn that a new owner has blanked out the lovely plants you had left, just as well you took this beautiful tree, Frances

    • Thanks Frances, it was a shock to hear that our old garden had been wiped out so fast! I’m glad that we rescued what we did, but wish they had warned us so we could have taken more with us without feeling guilty.

  2. Has the tree grown very much since you planted it? An image of the whole tree would help me ‘place’ it in the garden. I love the pure white flowers too and really wish I had one here in the spring border.

    • It is still a very small tree, perhaps 2 feet tall, that stands against the fence in the long border. I shall try and take a picture of the whole tree when I have a chance! Such a pretty tree for spring, though not fast growing!

    • I have updated with a picture of the whole ‘tree-ling’, to put in perspective. It has probably doubled in height in two years since it was planted out. Not a huge impact on the garden yet, but one day…!!

  3. A lovely story of patience rewarded – isn’t this one of the reasons we all love gardening?

  4. Such a shame about the old garden….. Glad your magnolia has survive its move and pot-waiting. I think they are far more obliging than some give them credit for – ours had been in about six different locations either here or elsewhere (used to belong to the golfer’s mother) 😉

    • Makes me glad we took what we did! Yes, the magnolia is proving fairly amenable to being manhandled, which is a relief. Now hopefully it will start to grow too! Yours sounds particularly well-travelled!

  5. Well worth all that patient waiting and loving watching Sara. I’m enjoying the view of our neighbour’s magnolia at the moment which looks almost ethereal as the sky darkens.

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