Monday, December 7, 2009

Celebrating Magnolias

Stately Old Magnolia Tree

The Magnolia Tree
By Patricia Neely-Dorsey

There's a majestic, old magnolia tree,
That stands in my front yard;
It's a tree that's grown there for ages,
And whose beauty you can't disregard.
She spreads her branches quite nobly.
She stretches her arms so commandingly,
As if certainly crying out to be seen.
She's the center of much activity,
And I know a squirrel family lives there;
I'm sure she affords them much comfort,
For her branches don't ever go bare.
There's so much that's gone on around her,
I'm sure that so much could be told;
But she keeps all her secrets well guarded,
And simply remains a sight to behold.

Welcome to another Outdoor Wednesday with our hostess Susan @ A Southern Daydreamer. It's been cold and wet here of late, so not exactly the kind of weather that makes me want to be outside. Instead, I've been keeping busy indoors decorating my Christmas trees and adding some holiday cheer around the house.

A friend brought over a big sack of magnolia leaves freshly cut from a large magnolia in her yard. I used them to add some greenery to my mantel for the holidays. The leaves of the magnolia are wonderful with one side a shiny green and the back side like a luscious suede. The contrast of the green with the warm brown tone is a lovely touch to bring indoors during the winter.

We don't have a magnolia tree in our yard, but there are many in our neighborhood. The one above was planted in the 1930s. It is one of my favorite trees in our neighborhood. Majestic in stature, it towers high above the home, and every spring this tree is covered in huge white fragrant magnolia blooms. Original owners of this home were Ben and Augusta Goodfriend, proprietors of Goodfriend's Specialty Shop, a local women's ware store. The Italian Renaissance Revival style was designed by Page Southland Page and was completed in 1932. Goodfriend's Specialty Shop was always one of my favorite stores when I was a student at the university, and I remember the Goodfriends as a warm and friendly couple. As was custom in the south, the Goodfriends planted this magnolia the year they moved into their new home. No doubt Ben and Augusta Goodfriend would be pleased to know that their regal magnolia continues to thrive and is a tribute to their southern hospitality.

The poem above, The Magnolia Tree, is one of many beautiful poems written by Patricia Neely-Dorsey. Her book, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia, is a delightful read as Patricia takes her audience back to her southern roots of a simple life growing up in Tupelo, Mississippi. Patricia's poetry gives one a glimpse into the southern way of life as she celebrates the south and things southern. Click here to visit Patricia's web site to read more about this talented "Mississippi Magnolia" and her book of poetry. This little book of poems would make a special holiday gift.

(Click to enlarge to read about the author.)

As always thank you for stopping by today. I truly appreciate your visits and comments. Don't forget to visit all the other Outdoor Wednesday participants listed @ A Southern Daydreamer.


The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. Sarah, we always use magnolias for decorating at Christmas. There are several on the property, but none as majestic as the one you have shown. A most interesting post, as always.

  2. Sarah, I adore this post. The magnolia is absolutely my favorite tree. We do not have many here as it is a bit dry for them, but the ones we have I cherish. Thank you for this tribute to a quintessentially southern icon. Kathy

  3. I love your photo's of the Magnolia The great White North we do have some but for some reason they don't grow as large I guess due to the weather conditions here. Today we had the first snow fall and now it is raining and the temperatures are dropping so it shall clear in a day or two.

    ....thank you for this post, I really enjoyed it. Now I'm a follower of your Blog.

  4. husband detests magnolias because the leaves won't mulch or mow. I think they're so majestic! My very favorite kind,however, is a Sweet Bay Magnolia. It's a deciduous tree with smaller, softer leaves and the most wonderful blossom scent! My mother loved them, too.

  5. hi sarah, fun to read about the mag~ your check came, THANK YOU!

  6. What a BEAUTIFUL old Magnolia tree and interesting info too. I love learning new things as I visit blogs. Thanks for sharing and for dropping by Happily Retired Gal. We've NOT had much rain so we're dancing for JOY at Monday's precipitation and are looking forward to more wet stuph from Thursday through Sunday.
    Hugs and blessings,
    Sacred Ruminations

  7. Sarah, I love the magnolias. They are gorgeous! We had one at a former home that was truly one of the prettiest trees I have ever seen, and it had a magnificent canopy, perfectly shaped.

    I have seen this book and still haven't had a chance to read it. If my life ever settles down, I would like to do that.

    Sending you much love.


    Sheila :-)

  8. I do have a magnolia tree in my front yard, though not as tall as the one in your neighborhood, it does stand taller than my home. The drought here is Florida has left it looking not quite as majestic, but the blooms are still stunning.

  9. Sarah, I am a true lover of magnolia trees. We don't have one in our yard, either, but I haven't given up on trying to convince my husband we have room for one of the dwarf magnolias.

  10. Sarah, your magnolia tree photos are lovely....we had a magnolia tree in our yard when I was growing up and my mother always used the leaves for her arrangements.
    Christmas blessings to you and your family.

  11. I love this Sarah! I wish we could grow Magnolia Trees up North, they are so gorgeous!!! The book sounds really good too, I wonder where I could buy me some Magnolia leaves? LOL! Hugs, Cindy

  12. I'll bet the boughs look wonderful on your mantle. That is a gorgeous tree. Have a great Outdoor Wednesday and enjoy the holidays to come.

  13. Wow Sarah that Magnolia tree is incredible. Maybe when it blooms in the spring you could take some pics I bet it is magnificent. Beautiful poem as well. Hope you are enjoying your Wednesday. I got off work a little early today so now I can look at a few more posts today! Enjoy the rest of your week! Sherri : )

  14. Oh Sarah,
    My mother has a lovely magnolia tree in her back yard and my neighbours have one as well. They are amonst my favourite flowers too. I look forward to having more time to get back to your blog after the rush of school recitals, christmas shopping and preparing for the last Christmas markets ...

  15. What a lovely post on the Magnolia tree!..,

    I have been trying to slowly but surely, get back to all of the fellow bloggers who have left lovely comments on my blogs, yet whereas I have six blogs and it such a busy time of year, it takes time!

    ~Thank you for your patience and kind understanding!..,

    I very much appreciated your kind comment regarding my perfume bottle paintings, and yes I do have numerous photos of my perfume bottle collections..,I did post an older post here and there, in answer to your query, of my perfume bottles, yet exactly where and when on my blogs, I could not say offhand..,

    The pictures are available as prints and I have retained the original water colour paintings in my own personl collection.~ Hope that helps..,

    Should you wish to find out further information regarding these collections of perfume bottle prints, you may email me at:

    Cheers from Wanda Lee @ The Plumed Pen

  16. Sarah, I miss my Magnolia tree so much! My husband doesn't like them, because of the mess on the ground. In our house before this one, he cut all of the branches so high that I had to get a ladder to cut leaves and flowers! That does sound like a wonderful book, and I loved her poem. I never did order the Quimper Christmas plate. I lost your email about the shop owner, and then time just got away from me. Recently, when it was again on the QCI blog, I started wishing again I had ordered it - maybe before next Christmas! laurie

  17. Hi sarah,
    A lovely post for OW, the magnolia flower is one of my most favourite, looking forward to seeing your mantle soon.

  18. Sarah, We have a much loved banana magnolia in our back yard. It is a miracle that it lives year after year since it gets so cold up here. This was a wonderful post. Wishing you the happiest of holidays.
    ♥, Susan

  19. Hi Sarah! I love favorite tree! We had one in the front yard of my childhood home in the mountains of NC...a little unusual for that area! But my dad was from Georgia, so they planted one so he would feel at home. I love their scent! I scrolled down and admired your stocking. What a cute! Have a wonderful weekend...hugs...Debbie

  20. Sarah,
    Thanks so much for including my poety and "little book of southern poems" on your blog to introduce it to your readers.
    It is greatly appreciated.
    Thanks ALL for the positive feedback from on the poem.

  21. Love those Christmas stockings.

    I was just sick when we had to cute down our gorgeous magnolia because I planted it to close to the septic ... it was such a beauty.

    Merry Christmas ~
    TTFN ~ Marydon
    NEW BLOG ~

  22. Beautiful poem and beautiful tree! Magnolia trees are my absolute favorites!

  23. Sarah, what a beautiful Magnolia huge! We in Arizona delight in even a small tree, and we don't see many imposing ones like this! I can only imagine how lovely it is when studded with white stars of blossoms!
    Love your description of the leaves and the way you use them. Super, Sarah!

  24. I adore magnolias, Sarah! I have a "Southern Grandiflora" in my yard. It was planted by a previous owner and WAY TOO close to the house, but there was no way I could cut it down, despite being told too by a landscaper once. It ate our original walkway so we had to add a new walkway...yep., gotta keep the tree! :-)


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