Saturday, March 05, 2022

GardenDC Podcast Episode 94: Magnolias

In this episode, we talk with Andrew Bunting, Vice President of Public Gardens and Landscapes at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, all about magnolias. The plant profile is on Heath and Heathers and I share what's going on in the garden as well as some upcoming events.

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Show Notes: 1:01 Meet Vice President of Public Gardens and Landscapes Andrew Bunting from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society! 1:35 Signs of spring Andrew is noticing 2:23 “We’ve been kind of teased into thinking that spring should start in February…” — Andrew 3:06 Andrew talks about the earliest blooming magnolias 3:53 What most people think are petals on magnolias are actually tepals! 4:27 Magnolia stellata can be the size of a shrub or tree 7:03 “If I was going to pick 10 of my favorite magnolias, ‘Wada's Memory’ would be one of them.” — Andrew 7:44 Many magnolias are early bloomers 9:11 “If you could only grow one magnolia, it would have to be the saucer magnolia.” — Andrew 10:22 Kathy describes the saucer magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden in DC 11:39 Andrew lists public gardens where you can see magnolias 15:02 Common names can be confusing 16:17 Andrews mentions magnolias called ‘The Girls’ 17:34 “Pinkie… that’s one of my favorites.” — Kathy 18:29 There is a ‘Star Wars’ Magnolia! 21:31 “For a long period of time, the yellow magnolias were kind of the Holy Grail of the magnolia world.” — Andrew 22:54 Yellow magnolias can be very tall! 24:43 “If you were to collect all the yellow magnolias today, there’s got to be 75 different ones.” — Andrew 26:13 Andrew describes a magnolia tree with a fruity scent 27:58 Magnolia trees native to North America have tropical leaves 30:01 Andrew mentions tall magnolias — “The wild Magnolia grandiflora can get over a hundred feet tall.” 31:38 Magnolias can be found all over the world! 31:12 Kathy and Andrew discuss the “dry shade” caused by evergreen magnolias 36:23 Are deer a problem? 37:56 The real pest issue — magnolia scale 38:39 Kathy and Andrew discuss pruning magnolias and espalier 41:41 Kathy says she’s going to add the ‘Star Wars’ magnolia to her collection 43:43 Learn about Heath and Heathers in this week’s Plant Profile! 46:08 What’s new in the garden: ‘February Gold’ daffodils bloom and the interns planted seeds! 47:00 News in the gardening world: Maryland Home & Garden Show, Longwood Gardens opens restored Orchid House, cherry blossom peak bloom coming soon 49:01 Look forward to “The Urban Garden: 101 Ways to Grow Food and Beauty in the City” by Teri Speight and Kathy 49:55 Celebrate spring at the National Garden Bureau online book party

If you liked this episode, you may also enjoy listening to:

GardenDC Episode 60: Hydrangeas with Andrew Bunting
GardenDC Episode 6: Spring-Flowering Trees and Shrubs

We welcome your questions and comments! You can leave a voice mail message for us at: Note that we may use these messages on a future episode.

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Episode Credits:
Host and Producer: Kathy Jentz
Editing and Show Notes: Dorvall Bedford



  1. A full episode focused on Magnolias is indeed something very interesting for garden professionals. Thank you Andrew Bunting and Washington Gardener Magazine!

  2. I used to enjoy a large saucer magnolia in my neighbor's yard right behind our back fence. Sadly, they had to take it down. I may have to plant my own someday, so thanks for the info!


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