Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Magnolia Trees

We had a HUMONGOUS Magnolia tree in our backyard when I was growing up.  Our yard itself was GINORMOUS.  It stretched way back the full length of our garage (this was the house my dad grew up in so the garage was not attached to the house- it sat to the right of the house and back) beyond the tool shed that was attached to back end of the garage and even beyond the clotheslines that were behind the tool shed.  At the clothes lines the yard made a 90 degree turn to the left and extended all the way to a dead end road--an L shape.  There was a Pecan tree, a Weeping Willow tree, a Plum tree, and that HUGE Magnolia tree in our yard.  The Magnolia tree was my climbing tree.

I spent HOURS of my childhood in that tree.  I sat up there to think and to ponder the wonders of the world; I sat up there with my cousin and friends and had deep, thought-provoking conversations; I often hid up there from my parents and other people when they tried to make me do something I didn't want to do like come in the house for dinner--I even fell out of that tree (injury free, thankfully...well, except for my pride.).  But my absolute favorite thing to do in that Magnolia tree was read.  The Rhinehart's, next door, had a two car garage in their backyard with an apartment on top of it.  If you sat in the Magnolia tree, in just the right spot, you could spy on the occupants.  And that's just exactly what Idid after reading Harriet The Spy up in the tree (yeah, getting caught at that was not a fun day).   

When Hubs and I bought this house 23 years ago, my FIL wanted to cut down the Magnolia tree in the backyard because, in his words, they are a "trashy tree."  But I refused, categorically stating that, "The girls should have the pleasure of growing up with a Magnolia tree."  The tree stayed and our girls spent HOURS of time up in that tree.  They sat up there to think and to ponder the wonders of the world; they sat up there with their cousin and friends and had deep, thought-provoking conversations; they often hid up there from us and other people when they tried to make them do something I didn't want to do like come in the house for dinner--and one or two of them fell out of that tree- injury free, thankfully.  And their absolute favorite thing to do in that Magnolia tree was read.  They even spied on the bad neighbors once they moved in next door.  Breezy is 26 years old and she was just up in the tree in January.  

Our Magnolia has given us shade in these brutally hot low-country summers.  It has serenaded us with gentle swooshes as the wind blew through it's branches.  It's leaves have adorned our mantle and wreathes at Christmas.  It provided our girls with a place to share secrets and giggles.  It continues to give us the biggest most gorgeous Magnolia blossoms every year.  It provides shelter for the birds (at my count, 16 species) and gives Tucker a place to chase the squirrels.  It even holds the lighting for our oyster roasts.

Through the years, I have come to understand that my FIL was right- the Magnolia is indeed a trashy tree.  Not only that but it has roots sitting on top of the ground like booby traps, tripping us on a daily basis and making the deck do weird things as well as a disease that causes it's leaves to have these white splotches on them.  It is way past time for the Magnolia to come down.

Hubs cut many of the tree's lower limbs last Spring.  And I have not been happy that he hasn't completed the job.  The nubs he left have new growth on them.  It's still producing magnificent blossoms.  And, when I listen very carefully, I can still hear our girls' whispers and giggles, ever so faintly, emanating down from high atop that Magnolia tree.

Maybe that's why Hubs hasn't finished the job.  Maybe I agree with him.

This is what I came up with after completing Mari McCarthy's FREE workbook:  We Are All Writers: How To Use Your JOURNAL To Cure Writer's Block Now.  If you'd like, you can visit Mari's website and take a look around.   Just click on the Blog tab to read her blog!

She will be sharing a guest post here on May 10th.  And I will be hosting a giveaway of one of her books!


  1. I loved this post, because I, too, have a special Magnolia tree, with lots of memories.

    Yes, it is "trashy", and has those annoying roots on top of the ground, but I love it anyway...and, it's the only "climbing tree" in the yard. LOL

  2. Wonderful post of very happy memories of that Magnolia tree. We have two in our garden, a cream one and a deep pink one, and they are stunning when they are in bloom.

  3. Love this post. Many years ago my neighbor dug up a small magnolia tree from an undeveloped area in the back of our subdivision and planted it in her yard. It is now very tall and covered with blooms. My son, who now lives in California, named his wedding photography business "Magnolia Weddings".

  4. The only good Magnolia tree is the one in someone else's yard. We cut down the one in our yard a couple of years ago and I was glad to see it go. The leaves, the pods, yuck! But they are pretty to look at.

  5. They are dirty trees, but so pretty. It is so nice to have those memories. I am sure your girls have very similar memories.


  6. No Magnolia tree memories here, but my husband is addicted to trees. For many years, he bought new pine tree seedlings every year and planted them and cared for them until he could move them to a permanent home. We are surrounded by trees here, as much as possible considering we live fairly close to the road. I love it and have accepted that we'll never be able to have fabulous flower gardens without that sun that can't shine through the trees, but I love the trees...

  7. You know how I feel about trees so I'm definitely with you on this one. Lovely post with a lot of family memories woven in to the tree's story.

  8. I think that tree is meant to stay :) lots of lovely memories

  9. Great post. I love trees and some they just have to stay:)

  10. Kathy- They really do make awesome climbing trees, don't they? Thanks for coming by, reading and commenting!

    This- I have never seen a pink one- Please take some pix and post them! I bet it's gorgeous!

    Suzanne- I think this one is here to stay! Did y'all already have a wedding or is it yet to come?

    Beverly- That's exactly what our backyard neighbor says about them!

    Susan- I agree! They do have great memories and they still love to climb it too!

    Laura- I love trees too! Although they do make me nervous during a hurricane. LOL

    Stephanie- I'm sitting here looking out at the Magnolia while responding- and watching the leaves fall...LOL Thank you!

    lou-I think you're right!

    Josh-Thank you! You're right, some do have to stay. They become a part of our family memories.

  11. Oh, I really like this post. It will be hard to see that Magnolia go I think...

  12. Jessica- I know. I'm thinking that it's going to stay and maybe have a tree person try to get rid of the disease.

  13. Very sweet post

    I had a tree I used to "climb" - it had one low branch that I could get up on and I would sit there for hours - so proud that I had gotten up there - even then I was a couch potato!

  14. Magnolia trees are everywhere around here. I love them- always have. And gardenia bushes too. We had them next to our front porch when I was young. I always liked that smell.

  15. I loved the telling of this story, but I felt that you'd slapped me in the face when, after extolling the many virtues of this beautiful tree, you suddenly proclaimed it was trashy after all and needs to come down. That got me wanting to chain myself to your tree to protest on its behalf and on behalf of all the birds and squirrels that inhabit and visit it! What tree doesn't make a mess? Those perfect white blooms are it's gift to you :)

  16. We have a huge Magnolia out the front.. love the flowers, hate all the leaves they drop... it might get replaced next year with a flower bed...

  17. Donna-Thank you! Getting up was never a problem for me, it was climbing down that was an issue!

    Michele-I love gardenia bushes and we had them too but I am now allergic to them. :(

    Desiree- We haven't taken it down yet but it's beginning to interfere with the foundation of the house and we just cannot have that. A dear friend of ours is a 'tree guy' and he's going to come give it a look. As for the squirrels- they are on my last nerve so they can surely go!

    Clare-Those leaves are everywhere and it's not just once a year either!

  18. That was an amazing post. I had my own little place too. It wasn't a tree though but I think I'll write about it soon. But for now I have to make a reminder or else I'll completely forget it. Really enjoyed this one.

  19. I loved this post as we also have a Magnolia Tree although much more modest than yours, looking forward to it flowering soon. I hope if you do take it down you plant another to replace it.

  20. How sweet that a childhood memory of yours could also become one of your own children. I love it...the tree just HAS to stay.

  21. Those are beautiful memories. So glad you still have the tree.


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