Monday, June 2, 2008

Magnolia, Blooming

I'm stumped for a clever title; I had intended to post a little item on random chunks of granite, but that will have to wait, because I walked into the breakfast room a few minutes ago, and was greeted by an Event.

Yesterday, my husband trimmed a pecan tree that was interfering with the growth of our neighbor's big southern magnolia tree. It's about 50 feet tall, and quite majestic, but the pecan was encroaching on its territory (as well as over the property line), so the request to trim it back was certainly reasonable. When he was finished, the neighbor presented him with two large magnolia blossoms, each the size of a luncheon plate.

At first I had them in a green glass vase, and they were nicely framed by the glossy green leaves that surrounded each of the blooms. They scented the air all yesterday afternoon. But the cats knocked them out, and I finally split them up into separate containers, and this morning put one in the breakfast room and one in the dining room. When I did so, they were both closed up into cup-like formations, and I left them to their own devices.

When I went to make a late breakfast after a morning of working on The Farm, I was delighted to see what had happened in the ensuing hours. They had not only opened, but dropped their stamens. Obviously, I have little experience with magnolias, and so this phenomenon was truly wonderful for me to behold. I only wish I had been there to experience the whole process.

While I was looking around on the web to find out more about what was going on, I found a nifty site called Evolution of a Magnolia Blossom, which does a nice job of showing the steps. If you're not fond of the theme song to "A Summer Place," however, you might want to turn your sound off. It's rather apt, though, from what I remember of the film.

One rather amusing coincidence: the green book with the Japanese writing on the cover is about Ikebana, the art of flower arranging. I found it at Half Price Books a couple of months ago, and bought it because it was beautiful and reminded me of my early childhood, when my brain got steeped in Japanese aesthetics, never (thankfully) to recover.

At any rate, I thought it interesting that one of the blossoms deposited its stamens on the sideboard, while the other held onto them, holding them in one of its petals--as if not wishing to damage a book on arranging flowers . . .

Here are two more pictures: one is a slightly closer view of the pile of stamens, and the other shows remnants of pollen on one of the petals.

And they both still smell heady and redolent of summer, only about three weeks early.

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