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Published September 9th 2018
Have you visited here during the magnolia bloom?
The magnificent magnolia can be a difficult tree to grow in a hot climate such as Adelaide. However, there is one place you can go to see these stunning flowering trees, that bloom at the end of Winter and early Spring. If you have never visited the magnolia gully at the Mt Lofty Botanic Garden, you need to visit now to see these stunning flowers.
The magnolias bloom here from the last week or two of August into the first two or so weeks of September. The photos here were taken during the first week of September. Some trees looked as if they had been blooming for weeks, while others just had new bulging buds yet to bloom, so there is always something in flower over 4 to 6 weeks.
The magnolia trail is accessed from the lower car park off Lampert Road in Piccadilly. You can see it on your left as you drive in. The walking trail around the trees forms a loop and is only a short one, so is not difficult for people who cannot walk too far. There is a slight incline towards the trees at the back but there are many to view along the front lower section. If it has been raining it can be a little boggy on the grass in the centre of the gully if you want to get closer to the trees for photos. A stroll around the trees and taking photos of the spectacular blooms takes about one hour.
Magnolia Gully at Mt Lofty Botanic Garden, with Mt Lofty in the background. Image by Kat May
There are 210 various magnolia species around the world. Magnolia is native to China, parts of Asia, east Northern and mid USA, West Indies, Mexico and Southern American countries. They are popular in European gardens but were introduced there. In Italy, I saw many large magnolia trees clipped into a conical shape making them look like huge Christmas trees with the flowers making natural shimmering decorations. Magnolia is a highly prized timber and the bark and flowers are used in traditional Chinese medicine. They are now widely grown all over the world.
Here at the Botanic Garden in the Adelaide Hills, they have selected 36 varieties, with signs informing you of the origin of each tree. It is amazing to see such a variety of tree size, colours and size of blooms. Some tress are so small and others already so large and full of blooms which make a spectacular sight. One sweet little tree was only a metre tall with the most delicate single purple bloom on top.
The magnolia gully was planted with its first trees in the 1970s with new ones added since then. The colours vary from white and creams to pinks and dark hues of a magenta and purple. The garden here at Mt Lofty is a real treasure and brings so much beauty in all seasons. But a visit when the magnolias bloom provides the visitor with the quintessential Spring outing. To see new Spring flowers brings hope of new things to come and in nature, it is the start of the new year.
Assorted bulbs and camellias at the top car park and magnolias at the lower, are the first flowers to bloom here at the garden. Do plan a visit here to see these magnificent trees soon before they fade away. You will be glad you did. My tip is to go on a weekday when it is not so busy.
A large tree with a blanket of blooms. Image by Kat May.