The star-like white flowers of Magnolia stellata, the star Magnolia (shown above), are some of the first Magnolias to bloom in the spring.  The  strappy tepals (sepals and petals) explode from tightly packed, fuzzy buds when a few warm days spur new spring growth.

Magnolia x loebneri‘ Leonard Messel’ blooms are similar in shape, but slightly later and suffused with a pinkish -purple color. The later blooming time means that in my garden at Northview they are less likely to be damaged by frost than the star magnolia. They also have a faint but delicious fragrance when the sun warms the flowers.

Photos – clockwise from top left

1. Fuzzy buds of Magnolia x loebneri‘ Leonard Messel’.

2. Catkins on Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’, Harry Lauder’s walking-stick hazel.

3. Slightly sticky, paired buds of Aesculus pavia, the red buckeye.

4. Acer tegmentosum ‘Joe Witt’ , Manchurian snakebark maple, buds starting to split open.

5. and 6.  Magnolia x loebneri‘ Leonard Messel’ flower buds gradually opening.

7. (Below) Magnolia stellata, the star Magnolia, white tepals stand out against a bright blue sky.