|STAR MAGNOLIA IN BLOOM ON MANYPENNY AVE. IN BAYFIELD...|
|...LOOKS GOOD THIS SPRING: NOT ALWAYS THE CASE|
Tuesday, 9:00 AM. 42 degrees F at the ferry dock and on the back porch. Wind variable and calm, the sky overcast, the pavement damp. The barometer is falling, now at 29.94". The forecast is for mixed skies and temperatures in the fifties for the next seven days,
Star Magnolias, Magnolia stellata, in the Magnolia Family have begun to bloom in Bayfield, I am guessing the one pictured is the hybrid 'Dr. Merrill' but there are some other hybrids and cultivars around as well. My recorded blooming dates for the species are as follows: 5/07/16; 4/30/15; 5/27/14; 4/10/13; 4/23/12/; 4/27/10; 5/11/09. The dates seem to be pretty inconsistent, which could be either due to the fact that I missed recording an early bloom date on a late spring, or it could be related to the fact that the Magnolia genus is way north of its natural range here and really does exhibit great sensitivity to temperature (I suspect the later to be the case). Ignoring the 5/27/14 date, the blooming dates can be as much as two weeks different in given years, about what i would expect.
Several species and cultivars of Magnolias will grow in the Bayfield climate. The star magnolia pictured is located on Manypenny Ave. and 4th St. There are a number of others around town. They are pretty hardy vegetatively, but the flowers sometimes freeze out since they bloom quite early in spring. When they do so, the blooms hang on the tree, looking for all the world like wet paper bags. I remember the look well from working at the Cox Arboretum in Dayton, Ohio, where that routinely happened. I doubt that fully equates the two climates; more likely it says that the star magnolia, Magnolia stellata, which is native to China and Japan, is not a very reliable bloomer in the upper Midwest. The tree pictured is probably the cultivar 'Dr. Merril'. Anyway, exotic, erratic bloomers are fine to have around if one has the interest and the space.