Monday, April 15, 2013
This is the most stunning week of the year in Southwest Ohio. It’s because all the springtime flowering trees have suddenly burst into bloom, and the streets and parks have turned into a festival of color. Our winter wasn’t harsh, but the chilly temperatures went on and on, so the budding flowers were two or three weeks late. The prettiest place that I’ve been to lately is the Frederick A. Hinkle Magnolia Garden in Eden Park, just west of the Krohn Conservatory. It’s named for a long-time Park Board member in honor of his many years of service. There are at least half a dozen different species of magnolias planted there, and they’re currently in full bloom. The area also includes a gazebo and a granite and bronze fountain with the inscription, “Let Justice roll down like water and righteousness as a mighty stream” (Amos 5:24), dedicated in honor of the late Judge Gilbert Bettman.
Magnolias, it turns out, were named after a French botanist, Pierre Magnol. They are the earliest known flowering plants on earth, dating back some 130 million years. Found on every nonarctic continent, there are about 210 different species. They include both evergreens and deciduous (leafy) varieties. Some magnolia trees grow as much as 90 feet tall and 50 feet across. Their flowers can be white, pink, purple, green, or yellow. Magnolias rely on beetles rather than bees or butterflies for pollination. They are considered a southern flower in the U.S. and are the official state flowers of Louisiana and Mississippi (which is nicknamed the Magnolia State). Magnolia bark and flower buds are used in traditional Chinese medicine, and magnolia leaves are used to wrap food and as cooking dishes in Japan. When archaeologists found a 2000-year-old magnolia seed in Japan, it was planted in 1982 and produced an unusual flower with 8 petals.
I went to the Hinkle Garden on a recent weekday morning. A couple of young couples were walking around hand in hand. People sat on benches, relaxing in the sunshine and taking in the view. A majority of visitors, like myself, were photographing the flora. Here’s how the Hinkle magnolias were looking.
SOURCES: www.ehow.com, “Interesting Facts About Magnolia Trees”; www.ehow.com, “Interesting Facts on the Magnolia Tree”; www.houseandhome.org, “Magnolia Facts”; www.theflowerexpert, “Louisiana State Flower”; www.southernliving.com, “The Complete Guide to Magnolia Trees”; www.theblogfarm.com, “Fun Flower Facts: Magnolia”; www.wikipedia.org, “Magnolia”
-Donna D (4-16): david these are the most beautiful magnolia pictures i've ever seen! rapture was a perfect word to use. thanks!
-Phyllis S-S (4-15): Dave, Interesting information and gorgeous photos. Where are Hinkle gardens? Phyllis
-Linda C (4-15): Lovely, you are ahead of us in weather, we have not really experienced spring, maybe today counts as it is 60 degrees.