Old School Film Hack

Southern Magnolias Begin To Bloom


Close-up of a southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) blossom
Central Maryland (June 2017)
DxO ONE + 32mm/1.8 ASPH

I’ve worked at my current employment site for over 11 years now, and it took me an entire decade to discover that they had a southern magnolia (magnolia grandiflora) tucked away in an obscure area that doesn’t get much foot traffic.  I saw this tree for the first time last year — long after it’s normal blooming season — so I’ve been eagerly waiting for the blossoms to pop again this year.  Which they did just a few days ago.

When the last hard frost hit us so close to the blooming period of all the other trees and plants, I thought for sure that these would be destroyed as well.  As it happens, a lot of the blossoms on this tree did get taken out by the hard freeze, but the rest have begun emerging and they are glorious!  The scent that wafts around the tree is heavenly and the blooms are truly a wonder to see.  One thing I did find intriguing is the speed of the blooming cycle; the very first bloom on the tree began opening this past Wednesday, and two days later it was pretty much done.

Beginning to bloom on Wednesday
Central Maryland (May 2017)
DxO ONE + 32mm/1.8 ASPH

The same bloom two days later
Central Maryland (June 2017)
DxO ONE + 32mm/1.8 ASPH

This is only the second southern magnolia I recall seeing up close and personal; they aren’t native to our area and are sparsely represented until one travels to South Carolina and as far south as mid-Florida.  Cindy says that she’s seen a bunch of them to the southeast of the DC region within the Maryland boundaries, but I simply don’t remember.

The only other southern magnolia I can confirm seeing was a magnificent 40-foot tall specimen in the central courtyard of the Reynolds Metals Company headquarters in Richmond, Virginia.  I worked there as a part-time graphic artist between 1981 and 1983, and again as a graphics supervisor between 1985 and 1987 — during which I always enjoyed seeing the spring blooms arrive on that tree.

8 thoughts on “Southern Magnolias Begin To Bloom

  1. Anne Mehrling

    I’ve never seen a closeup photo of a magnolia. Yours are glorious. They were common where I grew up in West Tennessee. I’m afraid I took them for granted. The state tree of Tennessee is the tulip tree, which I learned to call magnolia in New York. Now I’m back in the South and see real magnolias, even here in the mountains.


    1. Mitch Zeissler Post author

      Doesn’t it though! I was surprised at how fast the inner parts of the flower fall off of the stem (best seen in the bottom image); it’s like they instantly begin to drop — almost like grains of sand in an hourglass.

      Liked by 1 person

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