You can’t start summer without this belle in bloom

Honeybees adore her

Wonder Spouse was wandering the yard with his superior camera this weekend, and I persuaded him to capture one of the open flowers on our large Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora). She has been perfuming our front yard for about two weeks now, and judging by the number of unopened buds, she will likely still be showing off when the Summer Solstice arrives in a couple of weeks.

Now that our mornings have turned characteristically humid (and absurdly hot), the cloying sweetness of these flowers smacks you in the face when you head out the front door, where the tree resides. And when the air is really thick — as it has been lately — it still manages to tickle the nose when you head out the back door. I find magnolia perfume overpowering up close, but it’s diluted just enough to make it pleasant as it travels over the roof and down to the back deck.

I told you all the reasons I love this tree (despite it’s potentially invasive nature) long ago here. But it wasn’t blooming when I wrote about this species, so I thought it deserved an entry now while it’s showing off.

I was beneath this tree this morning tending to some hydrangeas when I noticed quite a few small magnolia branches on the ground. I had not realized that those gosh darn periodical cicadas had laid their eggs on these branches too! My poor southern belle looks quite off her game with so many of her end branches broken off by the boring of all those ovipositors.

She’s a big tree, so I’m hopeful that she’ll recover, dignity and beauty intact. She’s got thirteen more years to grow enormous enough that the next round of cicadas won’t inflict so much obvious damage.

At least the cicadas don’t bother the flowers. That’s good news for the pollinators who crowd her open blossoms from dawn to dusk — especially the ever-diligent honeybees, who make my front-yard belle hum happily, as they dine upon her nectar.

Happy almost summer ya’ll.

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