Sunday, 21 December 2008

the little gem first noticed this nondescript little shrub when we moved in.  I assumed it was one of many plants the previous owners planted just to make the house salable, without caring about whether it was a good location and without watering the thing.  It was so sickly I just assumed it would die and I'd figure out something else to plant there.  It's a horrible spot, in a south-facing corner (eg, almost no sun) and in the rain shadow the neighbour's garage.  Why bother to find out what kind of shrub it was if it was just going to cark it?

Well a few weeks ago I stopped and actually looked at the thing again, and realised it's not a shrub.  It's a little magnolia tree.  To be exact, it's a Little Gem magnolia.

Magnolias do need a little bit of love (read: water) in Melbourne, but they can be tough little things.  And this thing survived months of abuse, including the 6 weeks across October when we got no rain, just heat.  Yet it was still putting out new growth. 

And I do love magnolias.  Especially the evergreen kinds like like this one.

So I decided it earned a reward.  I raked back the mulch and ripped out a mat of roots from the potato vine that grows nearby.  It was a serious mat - about two inches thick, so thick that when I tried to water the magnolia without pulling up the roots, the water just sat on top of the root mat.  The potato vine will certainly survive without this patch of roots, so out they came.

Then she got a sprinkling of fertilizer, some Saturaid to help the soil hold moisture, and yes, a good long drink of water to encourage it to grow deep roots.  Back went the mulch. few weeks later, and my little gem looks like this.  Six weeks of steady rain and a bit of pampering has paid off in spades, look at that light green new growth!  And how fitting for the Christmas season, a single white blossom has opened at the top.  Just like a Christmas star.