Thursday, April 15, 2010

Evergreen Magnolia

Smack-dab right in the middle of our view of the Lotus Island harbor is our large Evergeen Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora). It has been a fertile source of family interaction for years as to it's origin, utility, architecture, and status. Since it is a short, squat , wide monster, it looms large in the ensuing debates. It was bought as a pot plant for our former house, to sleep on a pool side deck. There is argument as to who bought it. My daughter and I think it was bought from K-Mart by her then boyfriend, to ingratiate himself to me in 1973. My brother thinks he bought it for me as a present for my birthday the same year! It lasted on the pool deck 'til 1980 and was growing out of two pot changes when we moved it to Lotus Island and planted it as a little shrub in front of the cottage. There it grew like Topsy and was eventually 20 feet high and a beautiful specimen, but was starting to interfere with the sea view. Moreover Lotus Island is not South Carolina, and the tree's summer blooms are sparse. Beautiful and fragrant, but sparse! Here, these are prized plants for the large glossy leaves. I remember clearly, one winter day, remarking to the pianist that we had the best specimen of Magnolia on Lotus Island. That night we had a heavy snowfall and the tree broke in half with the snow load. God punished me for my prideful remark! Broad leaved evergreens are a risk in snow load areas! There was serendipity however in this, as the view returned, much to the pleasure of the pianist. Since then I have trimmed, or had it trimmed, to maintain the view and it has become progressively more portly. The current controversy is, it is taking over the yard, it produces few flowers, and requires arduous trimming to maintain it's height. Moreover, it is now said to be a tree that is not a tree but rather a monster shrub. Despite this, I am adamant that it stay, since I have become even more attached, and can claim to have the fattest Magnolia on Lotus Island.

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