The Magnolia Society attracts magnoliaphiles from all walks of life and all parts of the world. This month, we catch up with Greg Paige, Curator at the Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories in Charlotte, NC, USA. The Bartlett Arboretum has one of the most significant magnolia collections in the country and offers many resources for the home gardener, including this fact sheet on growing Southern magnolias.
Q: Tell us about the most recent time that a magnolia took your breath away?
Greg: Yesterday April 23, 2012, 2:35 p.m. Magnolia amoena flush with new growth; what a gorgeous tree!
Q: What magnolias do you grow at home?
Greg: Have a M. grandiflora ‘Kay Parris’ from Kevin Parris, Magnolia ‘Ann’ , Magnolia ashei ( I love the big leaf mags!) , M. x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel.’
Q: What is your favorite place to go to see magnolias?
Greg: I love the natives in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Favorite garden would be the Scott arboretum and the Bartlett Tree Research Lab and Arboretum, of course.
Q: How did you learn what you know about magnolias? Did you have a magnolia mentor?
Greg: I fell in love with the plant climbing in old southern magnolia as a child in Alabama. I really fell off the deep end with them while working at the Scott Arboretum (thanks, Andrew Bunting) and previous to that while working at the Holden Arboretum in Ohio. Pat McCracken, Dick Figlar, and Kevin Parris also helped shove me in this direction.
Q: As the Curator at Bartlett Arboretum, what opportunities do you have to share your passion for magnolias?
Greg: As Curator here, as a member of NAPCC and as a member and serving on the Board of the Magnolia Society I get to spread the gospel and talk to many folk about the virtues of magnolia and their importance in the urban landscape.