An aristocratic shrub

A magnificent magnolia tree (magnolia sargentis robusta) © National Trust

A magnificent magnolia tree (magnolia sargentis robusta)

Lanhydrock in Cornwall is famous for its large collection of magnolias – a shrub with a well-deserved reputation as a garden aristocrat. We have over 120 varieties growing in the gardens.

Origins

Magnolias take their name from the French botanist Pierre Magnol, and the genus includes both deciduous and evergreen flowering trees from north and central America, the Himalayas, China and Japan.

The flowering year

Our earliest flowering magnolia is one of our Campbell’s hybrids (Campbellii alba), which once flowered on 1 January. This is soon followed by other Campbell's hybrids and then, in late spring, the sweetly scented Chinese magnolia and Wilson’s magnolia species will flower.

We also have a number of yellow flowering varieties, such as Yellow Fever, Elizabeth and Butterflies, which flower in April and May.

From summer to Christmas, the evergreen Southern magnolias (Grandiflora) will bloom with large, creamy flowers and fill the gardens with their lovely scent.

Some superlatives

Our oldest magnolia is the Southern magnolia growing against the south-facing wall of the house, which is well into its second century.

One of our prettiest magnolias is Albatross. It was raised as a seedling at Trewithen, then planted and grown here to become a spectacular pure white, profusely flowering tree.

Magnolias for your garden

Cornwall’s wet weather conditions and free-draining soils suit magnolias well. If you’re looking for magnolias to grow at home, Star, which has white star-shaped flowers, and Leonard Messel, which has pink star-shaped flowers, are both easy to grow and flower well each spring.