Magnolia Soulangiana ‘Galaxy’
The Saucer Magnolia is a variety of the flower whose early spring flowers are especially large and have a deep rose flush to their outer petals. The specimen in the Conservatory Garden replaced a Magnolia which had succumbed to old age about five years ago. Magnolias are fast growers; in another five years it should once again provide ample shade to the same idyllic corner of the Garden.
The Magnolia is one of over two hundred flowering plant species in the family Magnoliaceae. Magnolia is also a particularly ancient plant species. Having evolved before bees appeared, the flowers developed to encourage pollination by beetles. As a result, the carpals of Magnolia flowers are tough, to avoid damage by eating and crawling beetles. Fossilized specimens the Magnolia have been found dating back 20 million years, and of related plants back to 95 million years ago.
The Magnolia is also one of the most popular flowers in America. It is the official state flower of both Mississippi and Louisiana. The flower’s abundance in Mississippi is reflected in its state nickname, “Magnolia State”. The Magnolia is also the official state tree of Mississippi. In fact one of the oldest nicknames for Houston, Texas Is “The Magnolia City” due to the abundance of Magnolia Trees growing along Buffalo Bayou. This is definitely one flower that plays well out of town.
With its beautiful pink flowers the Magnolia is one of the loveliest of all the Conservatory Garden’s early blooming shrubs. It is easy to see why it is such a favorite around the country.
One of the hidden wonders of Central Park is the Conservatory Garden at Fifth Avenue and 105th St. A secluded oasis, just a few steps down from one of the City’s busiest thoroughfares; the garden offers a fragrant respite from the gasp and clatter of the urban afternoon.