Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Going Bananas!

Banana Magnolia, aka Magnolia figo, Michelia figo, Magnolia fuscata

This unbelievably fragrant shrub smells just like fresh bananas!  I recall one of these in my grandmother's front yard when I was a child.  It wasn't until I was house-hunting a few years ago that I came across these in the yard of one of the houses I visited.  I didn't buy that house, but I bought two of these great shrubs to go right next to my front porch.

I moved in the last week of April, so they had already finished blooming. But I anticipated the following spring with great expectancy.  In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the entire gulf coast. It also did something else: it caused the banana magnolias to bloom out of season.  Now they are supposedly spring-blooming only, but mine bloom twice a year without fail, although the heavier blooms are in the spring. 

First buds, the last week of March this year.  Aren't they cute?

Just look at those fuzzy little things! 

The blossom out of its 'peel,' ready to open.  Oh by, the way, those little shrubs are now as tall as the roof of my house.  In five years, they have tripled their size.

The banana fragrance is so spectacular that it's hard to describe, except that it smells like a 'sweet' banana. For about three weeks each spring (and a week in the fall) I relish the idea of sitting on my front porch with a good book and a nice drink of coffee or lemonade (depending on the weather), waiting for a breeze to pick up the delightful fragrance and send it my way.

It's easy to see why it's called 'banana' magnolia. The blossoms look just like miniature magnolias.

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