It is cherry blossom time in Manhattan's Central Park, but this year the magnolias in the Conservatory Garden are the stars of the spring shows. I have never seen such a thick profusion of the cup-like blossoms, perched upright, so ripe and luscious. Catch them before they bruise and rot.
Before we take another step though, just enjoy the sensation of rolling this name off your tongue: Magnolia x soulangeana. (soft g) Saucer Magnolia. Seriously one of the most sensual names I know.
Their colors are brilliant, the purples royal and the whites creamy. The noon sun beaming through the petals stains them nearly crimson. Some people feel these trees border on the vulgar, all that pink undoes them. I find them supremely and unabashedly gorgeous. But I am the first to admit that I am a sucker for divas. They always find a cheerful audience for their brilliant displays in me.
In the midday warmth the fragrance of these resplendent blossoms is intoxicating. I had to sit down and take a few deep breaths of perfume, my head spinning.
I'm sending photographs to all of you who cannot be in New York City now to stroll under the blossoms.
And I include a cherry, in honor of its eccentric, wizened ways. But for whatever reasons--of temperature, rains, feeding, or just mood: you know trees do have their little ways--Central Park's magnolias take the prize this year.