off topic: Franklinia, was message mess-up

Jim McKenney
Sun, 22 May 2005 08:59:33 PDT
Shirley, the damage to your Franklinia may be a blessing in disguise.

About thirty years ago or so I planted a then small Franklinia here in the
garden. It was about the height of the one you have, with three short
branches. Shortly after I planted it, something gnawed the trunk about six
or eight inched above ground so much that the top of the plant fell over. It
was however still attached by a band of bark. Determined to save the plant
and not knowing what else to do, I put soil over the upper part of the plant
(which was then just about flat on the ground) leaving the tips of each of
the three branches exposed. 

Now fast forward about thirty years. The Franklinia is a multi-trunked
giant. Even experienced gardeners who know this plant often ask me what it
is. Or they ask what kind of magnolia it is. It's probably about thirty feet
high and across its widest dimension, maybe forty or fifty wide. 

It's a glorious sight from the time it begins to bloom in late June or early
July right through the fall of the last waxy scarlet leaves in November. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where a copy of Miss Martin's
painting of the Franklinia from the volume of Audubon's original water
colors published by American Heritage years ago hangs in the kitchen in
plain view of the tree itself. The Franklinia was not painted by Audubon
himself, but rather by a Miss Martin, a sister of the Bachman for whom the
warbler illustrated with the Franklinia is named. The likelihood of getting
a Bachman's warbler here is about zero, so we pretend the birds are
goldfinches, which we have in seasonal abundance. 

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