‘A Unique Perfection’ – Healing with the Glorious Southern Magnolia
Enjoy a trip back in time to the mind of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings for an affectionate study of her relationship with the wondrous magnolia – from the Florida publication partially named for the beloved author. – Editor
I never realized how many magnolias are in my Central Florida community until now; it seems every other yard displays the beauty of the dark, shiny-leaved evergreens.
They are a sign, my mother used to say, of hospitality. She planted one in the yard of my Tampa childhood home, and we watched it grow for years until it was taller than our two-story house. Sure, it could be a mess, regularly dropping large leaves on our manicured lawn. But my mother adored the tree, and I, feeling her passion, loved it, too. Revisiting the home after we were forced out by divorce, I was deeply saddened to see that the next occupant had cut it down.
Writer Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings shared my mother’s affinity for the species, exulting in the beauty of the magnolia tree that grew in the orange grove next to her one-story wooden cottage in North Florida.
“There is no such thing in the world as an ugly tree, but the magnolia grandiflora has a unique perfection,” she wrote in Cross Creek, her 1942 collection of essays about her rural home. “The tree is beautiful the year around.”