Greens for Wreaths: Magnolia grandiflora ‘Edith Bogue’
This is the time of the year that we begin harvesting greens at the Scott Arboretum to use for the Green Wreath workshops. All greens that are harvested are the side product of either necessary pruning that has to occur or from the removal of plants that have been deemed by the Collections Committee to be de-accessioned, usually because it is a poor specimen or an inferior selection or cultivar.
On occasion we have to prune the southern magnolias, Magnolia grandiflora in our collection. Because of the construction of the Wister Center, there is a specimen of Magnolia grandiflora ‘Edith Bogue’ who’s branches are now encroaching on the new greenhouse. The Horticulture Crew will prune back some of the farthest reaching branches. Normally, the portions that they prune would be run through the chipper, but in the winter they are used as greens for the wreath workshops.
Almost all the cutlivars of Magnolia grandiflora are coveted for wreath making. The large, bold, leather, lustrous leaves make a wonderful background for berries and finer textured foliages, like coniferous evergreens. Eastern red-cedar, Juniperus virginiana; Hinoki cypress, Chamaecyparis obtusa; English yew, Taxus baccata and the white pine, Pinus strobus are some of the great evergreens used in green wreaths. The beautiful foliage of M. grandiflora also provides a bold juxtaposition to the berries of winterberry, Ilex verticillata; American holly, Ilex opaca; and heavenly bamboo, Nandina domestica.
At the Arboretum, we have several cultivars of Magnolia grandiflora. ‘Hasse’ is a form we have growing in the Fragrance Garden that has a particularly fastigiate habit. ‘D. D. Blanchard’ and ‘Bracken’s Brown Beauty’ have a velvety brown fuzz on the undersides of the leaves called indumentum. This aspect of some of the southern magnolias adds an attractive textural aspect.
‘Edith Bogue’ was a cultivar that was selected several years ago because of it has the best winter hardiness for the Delaware River Valley. The leaves are large, dark-green and shiny. In addition to its exceptional hardiness, it grows relatively quickly and tolerates both sun and shade, and even dry shade!
Sometimes branches of southern magnolias will have the large cone-like fruits still attached. This ornamental characteristic too can, add great interest to a holiday wreath. Join us for a session of wreath making on Thursday, Dec. 3 or Friday, Dec. 4 or make your own wreath from greens purchased at Holiday Greens Sale on Saturday, Dec. 5 from 10 am to 2 pm.