Friday, 5 November 2010

The Magnolia Project

I always thought that November is a month to slow down. It starts with the All Saints’ Day when we remember our dead relatives and friends by lighting candles on their graves and later on, after changing the clocks, the days just seem to get really short. The weather more and more often plays some nasty tricks - even if the Sun's shining in the morning, it doesn't mean that you won't get soaked in the afternoon (but as everything's done in the garden, there's no need to stay outdoors). So when it gets dark (every evening at about 5pm) or when it's raining (looks like every day) it seems like a good time to go into hibernation.

Well, I'd gladly shut myself at home and try to figure out what to start with, but there's work and other responsibilities... I moan a bit and carry on and it doesn't look like it's the right time to slow down. I can see myself being very busy till Christmas, which is good in a way - the more you do, the more gets done.

I'm carving pumpkins for the first time in my life for our also first ever Bonfire Night, knitting my own dog (how could I resist after seeing these cute things:, planning my trip to London and playing with the latest obsessive idea - my Magnolia Project.

I love these trees. We've got a few in our garden, but I'd love to have even more. Greedy? You wouldn't think so after seeing their blooms in spring! At the moment they aren't a pretty sight - leafless sprigs, but I have found lots of orange seeds. After some research on the net I'm trying to follow the instructions:

Gather seeds from magnolia pods just before the pods open. Seeds will be covered with a reddish orange coating. Soak in tepid water for 24 hours to remove the coating. Remove from water and squeeze the pulp in your hands to force the glossy black seeds out of the pulp. Wash in warm water to remove any flesh or residue from the coating.

Plant your seeds to a depth of 1/2 inch in a tray of potting mixture of two parts peat moss, one part all-purpose potting soil and one part sand. Water thoroughly and cover the container with plastic wrap to maintain moisture.

This part is done. This is what remains:

Set in a warm location to germinate. Monitor closely. Keeping the soil evenly moist, but avoiding soggy soil. Open the plastic daily to provide air circulation and to stabilize moisture. Seedlings emerge in 4 to 6 weeks.

I hope they will emerge. As I would love to finish my project off with:

Removing the plastic wrap and placing seedlings in a sunny window. Planting in individual pots once seedlings have developed the second set of leaves. And planting outside in the spring after all danger of frost has passed.

P.S. Photos of Magnolias for this post will appear as soon as (or better IF) the first seedlings appear.

P.P.S. I loved our first ever Bonfire Night. We've even got the neighbours wondering what all of this was about.


nikkipolani said...

Oh, your little knitted dog is so cute, Kristina!

Yes, days are getting shorter and I'm hoping my neighbor's tomatoes (that have climbed over the wall and are now on my side) will ripen. There are still fall chores in my garden.

Hope your visit to London will go really well. And I'm looking foward to seeing things through your eyes.

iHanna said...

Wow, how awesome it will be to grow your own tree. how long until it is big and blooming? a few years at least, right? when the magnolia blooms here I'm all over it with my camera! :-)

Kristina said...

Oh, Anne, I'm so jealous that you can still grow things in your garden. When it gets cold and dark I dream we'd have constant summer!

Well, let's hope the tomatoes are nice; I'm sure some of my pumpkins, that climbed over the fence, were a nice suprise for our neighbours :)

Hanna, I don't know how many years it will take for my magnolias to establish, but I am willing to wait.