Greetings from Memphis



This gorgeous magnolia (yes?) tree is right across Beale Street from the BB King restaurant/club. I don’t think we have them like these up north, and certainly not in bloom this late. Ours are kind of puny.

Beautifully fragrant too.

P.S. These images are probably the only ones I have that do not involve bbq, blues, Elvis, or ducks.


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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


  1. You’re in town for the hottest, most humid weekend so far this year! Our magnolias are different from spring magnolias- the magnolia grandiflora is one of the toughest plants we have- enjoy some good ‘que!

  2. Well in terms of heat and humidity it’s all uphill from here, right? I don’t mind it. I love the South, and I’m loving Memphis.

  3. Southern Magnolias are one of the most wonderfully fragrant plants, and it’s a tree no less, a rather large one. If you are allowed to clip a flower, they make great home and car scents.

  4. Memphis is so much fun. I think the legal drinking in the street was my favorite part coming from a state with strict blue-laws and an open container ban. But the street-cars were pretty awesome too. And you can’t beat the live music! We didn’t even make it to Graceland, if only we could afford to travel right now.

  5. I noticed just yesterday that some of the m. grandiflora here in southern Maryland have started to bloom. The m. virginiana are in full bloom already.

    FWIW, while the grandiflora smells great, IMO virginia is the best of all of the magnolias in the aroma department.

  6. Magnolia grandifolia—Southerners either love them or hate them. It seems the hate may stem from whether as a child they had to rake leaves from under a limbed up specimen like the one you pictured. I hate the limbed up ones because there is no place to hide the leaves which defy decomposition. I have two that have branches to the ground.

    Also—they did amazingly well throughout the coastal South during Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina unlike red maples that went down in huge numbers.

  7. I actually have an enormous Magnolia grandiflora growing in my backyard in NYC. Yes folks New York City. It’s about as tall as our 4 story brownstone and was a major selling point on picking the place. It’s just started blooming on the upper branches and it appears as though the flowers are as big as my head.

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