One Very Favorite Tree (that has given much more than it has taken in time and sweat)
I love the smell of magnolia blossoms. Just as they begin to open, you can cup your hands around the open bowl formed by the petals and inhale the sweet almost overpowering fragrance. The perfume is still quite strong even when fully opened. It is the smell of Southern homes.
When I bought my house, almost a quarter of the yard was overgrown with trees, shrubs, and some really evil thorny vines. I did not see the magnolia tree in all of that on my first visit. When I did see it, I was pleased by this “wish list” item.
I closed on my house on a Thursday, and right away began working. I had arranged to have Thursday and Friday off from my day job even though I still had to work my night job. I had planned a tentative home and yard project schedule for these four days.
Taking up all of the cat soiled shag carpeting was the top priority, then the faded wallpaper, then the heavy drapes and valances. There was so much to do, but I made a start. I set aside three days for indoor projects and then one day, Sunday, for outdoor projects.
Sunday morning I worked up on the roof, sealing around the chimneys where there had been some water damage that I had noticed in the attic. It was nice to be up on the roof, my roof, surveying my neighborhood. Someone played jazz on a saxophone a few doors down.
Sunday afternoon I began tackling the overgrown area of the yard with the sole purpose of rescuing my magnolia tree. I just wanted to get some sun to it at first. Later everything around it would be removed. I wanted it to bloom, but it looked much too sun-starved.
There was a lot of work with a chainsaw, shovel, mattock, and pruners in that section of the yard with more work even now still needed, but several years later, I was rewarded by magnolia blossoms. Each year there are more. This year some were right at my nose level.