For magnolia lovers, the place to be right now is California. From now through March, San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park is celebrating “Magnificent Magnolias.”
Their collection -- dating back to 1939 and containing 51 species and 33 cultivars -- includes many prized specimens such as Magnolia campbellii 'Strybing White' (pictured here in a photo by Joanne Taylor), which at 80 feet is the largest magnolia at the Garden. This special white form of the species was grown from seed purchased in India in 1934, propagated at the Golden Gate Park Nursery, and planted here in 1939.
From a magnolia-inspired cocktail class with Master Mixologist H. Joseph Ehrmann, owner of the renowned bar Elixir, to a magnolia mobile making class for families, this celebration includes something for everyone. Expert and self-guided walking tours of their exquisite collection are offered from now through March – with some of the tours taking place by moonlight. Visit the San Francisco Botanical Garden website for all the details.
A lunar new year celebration in mid-February will focus on the collection’s magnolias from China. As attendees at last year’s annual meeting of the Magnolia Society can attest and as noted in Botanical Gardens Conservation International’s 2008 Global Survey, the San Francisco Botanical Garden is host to some of the most significant magnolia conservation work outside of China.
With University of California Botanical Garden just across the Bay and Quarryhill Botanical Garden not too far away, the San Francisco area is an ideal destination for seeking out rare magnolia species from China.
And on February 13th, plan to head south to Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, for our Magnolia Study Day. Magnolia Society President Andrew Bunting and Board Member Bill McNamara will join Huntington’s Kathy Musial and Tim Thibault in a half-day of presentations and tours of their collections.
Let the magnolia season begin!