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Star Magnolia

We are having a long, cold spring--the kind with a few tantalizingly warm and sunny days interspersed with three or four-day spells of unseasonable cold.  If this continues, the daffodils will last longer than usual and we will finally have a good year for ornamental sweet peas.  The magnolia blossoms, so long anticipated and sometimes so short-lived, may hang around as well. 

I love all kinds of magnolias, but I am especially taken with Magnolia stellata or star magnolia.  The trees, which grow ten to twelve-feet tall, are shorter than some of the other magnolias, so they fit nicely in smaller yards.  A stellata would be a great tree for a condo or townhouse dweller who wants a flowering tree, but has either a long narrow space or a modest ribbon of property.

Stellatas don't have the big puffy flowers of old-fashioned magnolias.  Instead, the pink or white blossoms have thin petals arranged in a star-like configuration.  Like other magnolia varieties, stellatas bloom fairly early in the spring. 

Other than sunny space and the usual, well-drained soil, the star magnolias don't demand much.  Plan any light pruning for spring and bring the blooming branches into the house so that you can enjoy their color and fragrance inside and out.

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