A few years ago, we planted a magnolia tree on the premises and it has been a delight. In summer it produces wonderful large creamy blossoms that emit the most intoxicating lemony scent that calms and refreshes. But another thing I love about it, is the fact that it's an evergreen. Here in the northwest, when just about every other plant and tree goes dormant, the magnolia shines--with large glossy leaves. It's said to be hardy to zone 6. And they're deer proof! What more can I say?
One thing you should know before planting one though, is that magnolia grandifloras tend to develope surface roots over time that can crack sidewalks, driveways, and concrete patios--so location is important. We put ours (above) in a corner of the front yard where rain and ground water is abundant, as it drains down the slope. Magnolias do well in rich soil such as this, but will tolerate occasional drought; they just won't grow as quickly. I took this picture of our tree yesterday--it was planted three years ago (as a sapling) and seems to double in size each year--and will eventually reach a height of 25-30 feet tall. I'm counting the days until I can spread a quilt underneath it and have a summer picnic. (It is raining again today--so that will be awhile at any rate.)
A bit of history:: The magnolia was adopted as Lousianna's state flower July 12, 1900, but in 1941 a society was formed by a group of Louisanna Iris enthusiasts, and they proposed legislation in 1950 to replace the magnolia blossom with the Iris. The Iris supporters contended that the Iris could grow anywhere, and that the magnolia was not a native plant. Their argument did not stand however, and the magnolia remains as the official representative. (The Iris went on to become the state wild flower however, so everyone was happy.)
COLORS: inner petals--peachy-pink #353; outer petals/bud--cream #746; center--yellow #744; leaves--lt olive greens #471 & #800; letters--smoke gray #645.