Friday, March 13, 2009

Consider the Michelia family




Consider the humble Michelia figo or Port Wine Magnolia or Banana Shrub. This plant which we have in our front driveway is highly underrated, I believe. It is a wonderful tough screening plant and to add to that has the most divine sweet smelling flowers in late winter to spring. When the weather is a little dank and not very cheery this lovely shrub comes out with its delicate pink flowers and distributes a sweet perfume around the garden. It is very sneeky but oh so lovely. In cooler years it has blossomed twice in a year. But to my delight, I find that it comes not just in one form but several, and am tempted to fill the little garden strip between us and our neighbours house up with the different varieties. The reason for the name Banana shrub....is pretty self explanatory really but it doesnt smell overly like Bananas if you ask me. It just smells good enough to eat!

Also available are Michelia figo Coco Pictured here.
And another is Mixed up Miss which has slightly larger leaves.
Being members of the Magnolia family they don't like being allowed to dry out completely but are a little more drought tolerant than the deciduous varieties. These, by the way, are not deciduous. They like a bit of acid in the soil and will do nicely with Camellias and Aussie native plants. The flowers are very pretty and the shrubs grow to up to 8m depending on the cultivar. They are worth checking out and do make a very pretty screening plant particularly in a perfumed garden.
These unfortunately are not my pics however when i have some in flower will take some to publish then.

Comments and requests are always welcome.

4 comments:

  1. I LOVE Magnolia trees - in fact I listed it as my favorite. Now I just need to get one. ;-) Beautiful pictures!

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  2. Hi Serena~~ I can vouch for the merits of Michelia figo. I had 'Port Wine' in a container but a few years ago passed it off to a gardening friend with more gardening space. I rather regret my decision now but don't have the heart to demand it back. :)

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  3. How beautiful, Serena! Thanks!

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