Magnificent magnolias at Overbeck's

Magnolia Campbellii 'Overbeck's' puts on an amazing display in February at Overbecks in Salcombe, South Devon

With the anticipation of warmer weather just around the corner, the garden begins to come to life. Nestled in its own micro-climate, the transformation from winter to spring can be surprising with bursts of colour through-out the garden.

Magnificent magnolias

Overbeck’s has an excellent collection of magnolias, including magnolia campbellii‘ Overbecks’ planted in 1901. The species was first collected by Joseph Hooker in the Himalayas in 1849. There can be great variations of this magnolia, but the tree at Overbeck’s has long been recognised as an extraordinary example, with its beautiful deep pink flowers that can start to bloom form January onwards, depending on the weather conditions.

In late 2006, twelve new specimens were propagated and the tree was formally renamed, so that when the original eventually dies, there will be live material to create new plants. Hopefully, smaller versions will start to appear in gardens around the world – indeed, a specimen of magnolia campbellii ‘Overbecks’ has already been planted in Japan.

As spring progresses, the rest of the magnolias come into flower – March sees M. dawsoniana, M. ‘Lanarth’, M salicifoila, and at the end of the month, M x veitchii.

As winter begins to recede the woodland shows signs of the very earliest bulbs with snowdrops and Crocus heralding the anticipation of spring. The Australian Grevillea, with their complex spidery flowers and the Correa, looking like elegant Fuchsias, run through the middle section of the garden.


In the banana garden

The daughter tree to magnolia campbellii ‘Overbeck’s, a mere youngster compared to her 117 year old mother, vies for attention as her buds open with a display of soft pink blooms. Sitting alongside her Mother, she is sheltered from the frost in the tropical banana garden.

Brugmansia snaguinea, the Angels Trumpet, are also in the banana garden. They often flower all winter giving a shot of colour along with camellia.