Category: Spring Horticulture Highlight

Carolina allspice, Sweetshrub

June 1, 2022

But oh! For the woods, the flowers

Of Natural, sweet perfume,

The heartening, summer showers

And the smiling shrubs in bloom,…

            -Claude McKay

English naturalist Mark Catesby (1683-1749) is credited with introducing Calycanthus floridus, Carolina allspice during his colonial explorations. His Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands, was the first published work of the flora and fauna from these locations. Two large folio volumes with 220 personally engraved and individually hand-colored plates with descriptions were published between 1729 and 1747. In plate 46 he illustrated the Carolina allspice along with a cedar waxwing.

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Hobblebush

May 3, 2022

We tramped for miles on a wooded walk

Where dog-hobble grew on its twisted stalk

            -Dana Gioia

Recently, while entering the higher end of Sumac Path heading down towards Consecration Dell there were several plants of Hobblebush, Viburnum lantanoides,just opening their spring flowers. These visually distinct blossoms are arranged in 4 to 6-inch-wide, circular, composite, corymbs (flat-topped flowers). Rendered showy by an outer ring of white flowers, each 1-1 ½-inch, with 5-parted bracts, these all are sterile. Their center is composed of numerous small, true reproductive flowers, of an off-white shade.

green leaves of hobblebush with flowers
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Umbrella Magnolia

April 29, 2021

Horticulture Highlight: Umbrella Magnolia, Magnolia tripetala

I wakened to the singing of a bird;

I heard the bird of spring.

And, lo!

At his sweet note

The flowers began to grow…

            -Annie Adams Field

There are multitudinous flowers everywhere in Mount Auburn during the month of May. Early on are trillium, forsythia, spiraea, serviceberry, fothergilla, magnolia, then on to crab apple, lilac, wisteria, finally displaying azalea, amsonia, viburnum, false indigo, tulip tree among many others. While there have been many magnolias in bloom from mid-April on, herein we focus on one of the later flowering species.

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