Magnolias at Kew Gardens

 In Gardening, Gardens Visited, Plant Focus, Trees and Shrubs, Visit Britain

Magnolias at Kew Gardens can be seen over several weeks every spring but lucky for me I struck lucky and for once timed my visit to perfection.

I’d planned to visit the magnolias at Kew Gardens for many years. I’ve been tied up running a garden centre near Bristol for 35 years and so I just couldn’t find the time. Springtime is always the busiest season with nurseries and garden centres and I had both!

So with a few hours to kill before a return train to the West Country I decided to put this situation right, You see, I’ve a bit of a soft spot for magnolias and I recommend that you visit Kew Gardens in spring to see these.

Tree magnolias at Kew Gardens

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Magnolia x veitchii

The Magnolias at Kew Gardens are easily accessed and are generally grouped together. These tree and shrub magnolias have been established for many years and some are reaching maturity. I’d missed the earliest flowering Himalayan tree magnolias and there were very few blooms to see on the Magnolia campbellii trees. However Magnolia x veitchii, another tree type was breathtaking.

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Magnolia kobus borealis

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Magnolia kobus

A tree that impressed me was Magnolia kobus borealis . This small flowered form is another tree type and is one of the most lime tolerant. However the flowers may be small but they are always very plentiful.

Bush Magnolias

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Magnolia x loebneri Raspberry Fun

Magnolia kobus  is a parent of some very fine hybrids. These are Magnolia x loebneri hybrids. My favourite of these is ‘Leonard Messel’ but I liked ‘Raspberry Fun’ which is very similar.

I was more than a little surprised to see the Magnolia x loebneri hybrid ‘Merrill’ also with pink blossoms as it’s widely described as white and has always flowered with white blooms when I have grown it commercially. One hesitates to criticise such an august body as Kew Gardens but I noticed that several trees still had labels showing old and no longer recognised names.

Blooms of Magnolia x thompsoniana impressed me and I strongly recommend this to be more widely planted. See headline image.


Other beautiful magnolias at Kew Gardens

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Magnolia denudata

There are many great magnolias at Kew Gardens and not room for them all here but here are a few of my other favourites –

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Magnolia ‘Galaxy’

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Magnolia ‘Star Wars’


See magnolias elsewhere

You can see an even bigger collection of Magnolias at Caerhays Castle in Cornwall and at The Savill Garden, Windsor.

There are also some fine ones at Knightshayes in Devon.


Do you have a favourite Magnolia?

Have you seen great magnolias elsewhere in Britain and the northern hemisphere?

And have you ever seen magnolias growing in the wild?

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