Exciting news from one of our local gardens, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Deciduous magnolias that have been hybridized and propagated there by garden volunteer Bill Smith are being picked up and sent to Monrovia for evaluation, for possible introduction as new cultivars that would be sold at nurseries across the U.S.!
These hybrid magnolias were bred for increased cold hardiness (later flowering to escape late frost/freezes) as well as flower color/size, disease resistance, among other characteristics. When I was still a student at the horticulture program at my local community college, I had the joy of touring the propagation greenhouse at Lewis Ginter and seeing this magnolia work up close as pollen from one magnolia was carefully “painted” onto the stamen of another. It will be exciting to see if one day I can buy one of these hybrids from any of our local nurseries/garden centers!