It’s magnolia time at Trengwainton Garden

Pink blooms of the Magnolia campbellii at Trengwainton Garden in Cornwall

Now’s the time to catch the magnolias at Trengwainton Garden, with the early bloomer – Magnolia Campbellii – in full flower in the walled garden and on the drive. The sight of their big, waxy cerise pink petals set against blue skies has often been described as magical.

How did they get here?

Magnolias were first introduced to this country due to the extraordinary efforts of the Plant Hunters in the early part of the 20th century. They went out to Southern China and Tibet, enduring months in the high mountainous regions, looking for exotic species to bring back to Britain.

A favourite for the birds and the bees

Their flowers contain both male and female reproductive organs and have a sweet aroma. Bees are their main pollinators, but the flowers don’t produce nectar; instead, they have pollen enriched with proteins which the bees use as food. Their kidney-shaped seeds can be red, orange or pink in color and are a favorite food for many birds.

Slowly does it

Patience is needed when growing Magnolias as the first flowers take seven years to develop.  They can live to be more than 100 years old and Trengwainton’s magnificent Magnolia campbellii in the walled garden is the grand old age of 97.

Special uses

Many species of magnolia are used in both Eastern and Western herbalism. In Chinese herbalism magnolia bark is associated with healing the stomach, spleen and large intestine, while the flower is associated with the lungs.    

Russian herbalists use oil extracted from the flowers and young leaves to treat hair loss and as an antiseptic on skin wounds.

A sight for sore eyes

For many though, it’s more a case of their exotic beauty being medicine for the soul. Their flowering season is brief - and vulnerable to any late frosts – so catch them while you can. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for up-to-date news on their flowering.