Saturday, May 3, 2008

Magnolias and Mason Bees

I woke the other morning to such a glorious magnolia in full bloom! It has creamy pink petals and such a nice form and it happily sits right outside my kitchen window where I look out on it every morning. Such a nice thing to wake up to each morning. It's probably one of my favorite plants and I have been trying to grow one for years now so watching this one flourish has been extremely satisfying.

My first attempt with magnolias started with a mail-order purchase through J&P shortly after we bought our house. I mulled and considered and planned out where I would plant it to give it the best chance of succeeding. I envisioned sitting in our sunroom, sipping my coffee and gazing out at this magnificent tree. So, I researched and thought some more and finally placed the order... then patiently waited.

Finally the day arrived when my tree was to be delivered. I requested that it be shipped to my work to eliminate any undue stress that might occur from it sitting on our front porch all day. I drove our truck to work so I would be able to get it home and informed our receptionist that I was expecting a magnolia tree today and, if she would just buzz me when it arrived , I would quickly get it out of the lobby for her. I even asked a male coworker if he could help me get it to the truck when it arrived and then I sat back and waited some more.

By lunch it hadn't arrived. I had to run out (but made it quick) and, upon my return, I scanned the lobby hoping my magnolia had arrived in my absence. Pam, our receptionist, was looking at me and I asked excitedly if deliveries had been made yet. "Yes", she told me, "and I do have something for you". Great, I thought, scanning the lobby again. Well, as if taken from a Saturday Night Live skit, she reaches under the counter and pulls out a Fedex box which couldn't have weighed more than 2 lbs. I looked at her, confused, saw that the box was from J&P and ripped it open . And there, in all its magnificent glory, was my magnolia tree! Basically, it looked like a pencil with roots! A small, sad pencil with roots. I looked at Pam, she looked at me and then she asked, "Shall I call the guys to see if they can help you get it out to your truck?". Hardy, har, har! And, thus, my first introduction to mail-order plants. Oh, and by the way, I took my pencil magnolia home, planted it in the 3 foot hole I had prepared and watched it promptly shrivel up and die. Grr.....

So, after several more attempts, I'm sure you can understand why I am now proud as a mother hen of this little beauty.

Another item in my garden that I'm proud as punch over is my Mason bees. I started with one hive which I got through a pledge I made to our local public radio station and, after their latest pledge drive, I now have 3 hives. For those gardeners who haven't heard of Mason bees, please pay attention! They are such wonderful little creatures; very gentle, non-aggressive, gregarious and inexhaustively busy and, I've been told, they're more productive pollinaters than honey bees. Plus, they are so fun to watch! Nothing makes me happier than sitting in my garden and watching these little guys zip and buzz and dance around. In the morning they will sit in the doorway of their respective holes, like dogs sitting in the doorways of their doghouses, and when the sun finally warms them up, out they come to dance, buzz and pollinate. Take a look at my buzzy little friends!


Sherri@Choice Words said...

magnolias are so pretty!I love them !

cindee said...

I can appreciate your mail order story. I can't count all the times I have been disapointed when I ordered something. J&P is very good about sending a replacement so I hope you got one. Your tree looks just beautiful!!!!

IBOY said...

Great mailorder story. Magnolias are often heartbreaking here in Iowa; I can't imagine how tough it must be in Montana with your up and down temperatures. Hope springs eternal!


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