Monday, May 20, 2013

Magnolias: Nature's Southern Belles

I never tire of taking pictures of magnolias.  Each and every one is truly a masterpiece ... from the pristine, creamy ivory petals gracefully curling around the seed pod, to the shimmery dark green leaves, with their coppery fuzzy undersides ... magnolias, to me, are the epitome of southern grace and hospitality. 

I recently visited the Vicksburg National Cemetery located in the Vicksburg National Military Park, which, in my opinion, happens to be home to some of the most magnificent old southern grandiflora magnolias in Mississippi. 

The lichen and moss covered trunks and limbs are massive ...

And the roots stretch under the canopies, on top of the ground, twisted and tangled ...

The roots of the two trees shown below actually intermingle ...

I think being embraced by the roots of an old magnolia tree would be a nice final resting place.

The trees were literally covered with magnolias.  Unfortunately, they are so large that the flowers are way overhead and difficult to photograph from the ground. However, where there's a will, there's a way, and I did manage to capture a few pictures by standing on higher ground around some of the trees and by using my zoom lens.

This first picture is my favorite ...

As you can see, it features a magnolia blossom in three stages of its blooming cycle ... with the bud pods on the right, the open bloom in the center, and a faded bloom on the left.  I wish there had been a bud close by, too ... but I guess that would have been too much to ask.

Here are a few more blossoms and buds that caught my eye ... 

Notice the leaves, too.  I love their richness and texture and colors ...ranging from bright "spring green" to almost black, accented by the coppery undersides.

I enjoyed the time I spent capturing these magnificent flowers. They were worth trudging up and down the hills in the cemetery on a very humid spring day, with temperatures hovering in the mid-80s  ... and were worth getting bitten by an ant ... several times ... before I could squash him!  They were even worth spending about twenty minutes searching under those two magnolias with the intermingling roots for a lens cover I thought I had dropped, but eventually found on the hood of my car.   

I'll remember that day fondly for a long time, and each time I look at the pictures of the magnolias, the memory will be rekindled ... to be enjoyed again and again ... for, in the words of poet Edgar Guest, "in photographs only can yesterdays live."


Stacey said...

They are amazingly beautiful! I absolutely love big trees.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

One of my very favorite trees, and you captured their magnificence, Janie! I can remember when I was little, climbing to the top of a magnolia that was just HUGE, much like the ones pictured. It was in the yard of two little maiden sisters who were friends with my parents and grandmother. We, my friend Sonya and I, used to play in a tree in their yard called the Monkey Tree. It had wonderful vines, but she had to go somewhere so I stayed behind and got busy climbing the magnolia. I could see all the way to the Presbyterian Church, and it was BLOCKS away. I was so high that I seemed to be on a level with that steeple and the steeple of two other churches I knew well. THEN, panic set in, and I wasn't sure how I was going to get down. Fortunately I didn't get stuck and require a fire department rescue and a spanking, but it was something I will always remember, too.

I guess it's that way with magnolias.



Pat said...

Wow! Janie, you have done it again!

You captured the most beautiful photos of that magnificent old magnolia tree. I like all of the photos, but especially liked the shot looking up into the tree and seeing the huge limbs, plus the one that looks like a big elephant foot.

You are right ... There is nothing quite like a magnolia tree.

Pat in Tallahassee

Beth said...

I love these pictures, what beautiful old trees yet still blooming faithfully!