Unexpected birthday presents

Birthdays: a reminder that one is getting older! Not exactly something I like to notice.

However, I’d like to show you a birthday present the world unexpectedly offered me today: Babies’ First Blooms

My current phone has a dreadful camera, so these pictures are not crystal-clear. Nevertheless, check it out! This is so exciting!

Both of my oldest hybrid magnolia seedlings have cracked their buds, following their maternal parent in bloom timing. The top photo is the ONE flower that this baby magnolia is going to have this year. The bottom photo is a sibling tree that has seven flower buds. It’s going to rain today, apparently, but it’s warm, so hopefully I will have a chance to see both these flowers open into full bloom. Even right at this moment, it’s clear the top tree is going to have cream-colored flowers with a pink streak at the base, very much like the Yulan parent. The bottom tree is plainly going to have much pinker flowers than the Yulan, but probably a flower shape much the same.

Here is a post from good few years back, showing the parents of these baby trees, among others — the Yulan was the seed parent and the M x loebneri hybrid was almost certainly the pollen parent, as that and the saucer were the only tree that overlapped in bloom time and the saucer magnolia is largely sterile.

The first time the Yulan set seeds, it set just four seeds from one flower and that was the total seed production for that year. I collected all four, but destroyed one in removing it from the fruit (way more delicate than it looked). To get the other three seeds to germinate, I planted them in a barely moist potting mixture and set the container in the fridge for two months, then set the container under lights and kept a casual eye on the moisture level. All three germinated, but they were not happy indoors and one died before I could get them outside. I planted the other two in a nursery bed in March and prayed it wouldn’t get too cold. They both thrived, and so maybe four or five … or six? … years ago I transplanted them to their permanent homes. These babies are maybe a decade old or so, about six feet tall, and as you can see, flowering for the very first time. The Yulan has opened all the flowers on the top half of the tree and will hit full bloom tomorrow, probably, barring disastrous weather.

I have four more younger Yulan hybrids in the nursery right now, plus a very special single ‘Woodsman’ x ‘Butterflies’ hybrid. They should all get transplanted to permanent locations this spring. I will have to hire someone to do it. I’ve had enough birthdays by now that don’t believe I’m quite up to digging out largish seedling trees from the nursery.

As a slightly related side-note, guess what else I’m doing to celebrate my birthday?

I’m starting a new Tuyo-world story, the one where Sinowa meets Marag.


I’m going to give myself the rest of this week to write the opening scene(s) of this story and maybe the opening scene(s) of the Lau story for the pure fun of it.

NEXT week, I will go back to revision.

Please Feel Free to Share:


12 thoughts on “Unexpected birthday presents”

  1. Happy Birthday!! Nothing like spring’s first blooms as a flower present.

    But writing something you’re excited about probably comes close. I love that you’re celebrating yourself by doing something you enjoy. It’s my favorite way to celebrate too.

  2. Happy birthday! Blossoms and books sound like lovely presents to yourself—and thank you for sharing them with us!

  3. Happy birthday! I’m so impressed that you have flowering trees you grew from seed!

    I’m looking forward to the Tuyo-world stories.

  4. Healthy and happy birthday to you and the trees ^^ – may your next year of live be full of a perfect balance of rest/relaxation and excitement ^^

  5. Happy birthday! I love magnolias. Unfortunately, any blossoms of any type are a long way off where I live – we’ve gotten almost a foot of snow the last few days.

  6. Thank you all!

    Alas, MO is not exactly the new Florida — we just get bursts of warm weather at random times all winter, coaxing optimistic trees into flower! SOME early spring magnolias are likely to bloom in a warm period, others get hit by freezing temps, and it’s very unpredictable which. Sometimes the very earliest trees are lucky and bloom like the dickens and the later ones get hit, sometimes the other way around. We’re supposed to drop into the twenties in a day or two, but not until I get a good look at the babies’ flowers fully open.

  7. Happy birthday, and congratulations on your succesfully blooming homegrown magnolias as well as the succesfully completed year!
    And what a good start to the new year, celebrating with more good story ideas that hopefully will be as much fun for you to write, as for us to read.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top