NYU Garden Shop Plant of the Week
By Head Gardener, George Reis
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana) in the Vanderbilt Hall Courtyard, at 40 Washington Square South.
Magnolias, cherries, apples, and dogwoods are the four mainstays of spring flowering trees in our area and you can see all of them right here on NYU's campus. This week's plant is the eye-popping Saucer Magnolia and they are just starting to put on a show right now in the courtyard of Vanderbilt Hall in the School of Law. From Michael Dirr's essential Manual of Woody Landscape Plants we learn the following about Saucer Magnolia: "Numerous selections have been made over the years and there is much confusion concerning their correct identity. The original hybrid was raised in the garden of Soulange-Bodin at Fromont, France... The plant first flowered in 1826 and the cultivars have become the most popular of all magnolias in American gardens."
Magnolias are one of the world's oldest flowering plants, dating back 60 million years in the fossil record. Today there are several dozen species native to East Asia and North America. Magnolia flowers, which emerge before the leaves, have been prized for their beauty as far back as the Tang dynasty (618–907 A.D.) in China where they graced paintings, porcelains, and tapestries.
Magnolias prefer full sun in a protected site and soil that's not too dry or alkaline. Once established, they require a minimum of care, and their handsome, smooth gray bark provides winter interest. The Saucer Magnolias at Vanderbilt Hall Courtyard will be in peak bloom over the next few days, so be sure not to miss them!
Previous Plants of the Week:
April 12, 2011
Daffodil (Narcissus spp.) in the sidewalk median at 100 Bleecker Street.
April 5, 2011
Lenten Rose (Helleborus x hybridus) in the sidewalk median at 100 Bleecker Street.
March 29, 2011
Camellia 'April Remembered' (Camellia japonica 'April Remembered') at Coles Sports Center, 181 Mercer Street.
Mar 22, 2011
Coral Bark Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku') at Glucksman Ireland House.
Mar 18, 2011
NYU Garden Shop Plant of the Week---Witch-hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia) at #2 Washington Square Village Lobby Garden. (interior of Washington Square Village, W 3rd Street jst west of Mercer).
Mar 8, 2011
Crocus species mix on Bleecker Street side of NYU Coles Sports Center.