Ostomy Memories of Magnolia Trees


It may be ignorantly un-Southern of me to say this, but I dislike magnolia trees. As a tree lover generally, it pains me to admit this awful prejudice, but I have come to it honestly, that is to say, after having experienced a number of magnolia trees on my very own property. The trees produce magnificent blossoms, huge fragrant things that we used to pick and float in bowls of water on the dining room table. They emit a wonderfully sweet scent, redolent of Tennessee Williams and reminiscent of women who say Yes in three syllables. But the leaves, the damned big ol’ leaves, fall off the tree twelve months a year and they never deteriorate. On the tree they show a shiny dark green side up, a dull green on the down side, and they are as large as hands. But then they fall, turn brown, and harden like crab shells. They even move along the ground like crabs, wind-powered. They litter the ground for a wide circumference around the tree itself, blow into the street, into neighbor’s yards, and seem never to go away. I have one now at the back of my yard, a tall and old and stately magnolia tree with a trunk as hefty as most oaks. My back yard is in good shape. The azaleas are patient and prepared to wait out the winter. The camelias are in bud. The hickory trees and the sweet gums have long since dropped their leaves, which have been taken care of by mower and rake. Still, magnolia leaves continue to overpopulate the lawn, dead and curled at the edges like claws, endless, aggravating, forever.


Hi Henry i have neighbors with elm and maple trees and i have a couple large apple trees in the yard, what i do is rake the leafs into the backyard and run the mower over them then i rake/shovel the debris up and put it on my mulch pile.


I guess I never really thought about the difference between the Southern Magnolia and the variety that we grow in my area. We don't have the same problems with the Saucer Magnolia that you describe. The worst I can say about mine is that in the spring, I am constantly sweeping the dropped blossoms off the patio, or fishing them out of the pool. But I look forward to at every year as a harbinger of spring.


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<p>Apple trees!&nbsp; I planted a Granny Smith and a Fuji at our home in Utah, but we moved before they produced much.&nbsp; What variety do you have?&nbsp; <br /><br /></p>

Hi Henry i have a yellow delicious in the backyard nbsp; and a i believe its called a jonathan in the front, they are both large old trees but still produce but in a cyclical type of system of apples for 2yrs. then next to nothing for a year.

Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister

Hello HenryM.

Thanks for yet another great description. This time of the annual cyclical situation regarding the magnificent magnolia tree.

We do enjoy those in our neighbours gardens, but curse them when the leaves fall and blow into ours. However, this leaf nuisance is not confined to magnolias,  but every deciduous tree there is. The main problems for us is that they litter the yard and block up the drains, which results in flooding. However, we have never complained to our neighbours about this as, when balancing the pleasure derived from the blossoms against the nuisance of the leaves, the pleasure seems to win every time.

The only tree I really object to is the sycamore, which has seeds that helicopter around the neighbourhood for miles, and manage to grow in almost every position imaginable. Their growth so proliforous, vigorous and ultimately destructive, that it is only the keenest of gardeners who manage to stay on top of them. I have witnessed them lift concrete and knock over walls without so much as a sweet smell or blossom to compensate.

Oh! It seems the woes of the avid gardener appear to know no bounds.

Best wishes




Having grown up in northwestern Montana, I never experienced Henry's aggravations with a magnolia tree's leaves. (Maples Chinese Elms had PLENTY of leaves to rake up each Autumn, on their own.)But, I have a admiration for magnolia blooms in art. I can't say why, but something about their form stirs my soul:


This is perhaps my favorite painting, ever. Martin Johnson Heade's "The Magnolia Blossom". I have a print matted framed in my home. Truly lovely.

Speaking of apple trees, my grandparents had what was known as a Montana Apple in their yard. Grandma made the Missoulian (Montana) newspaper in 1977 because of the fruits' huge size:

 /></p><p>Grandma made everything from apple pandowdy to apple butter with those apples - all scrumptious!</p><p>Lily17</p>
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<p>It's not the magnolia leaves alone that I find objectionable; it's the fact they don't seem to decompose like other leaves.&nbsp; Re your sycamores, why don't we put that in verse.&nbsp; We'll rip it off an Orwell poem from 1935:&nbsp; I dreamed I dwelt midst garden walls / But seeds of sycamores ensued / I hadn't ought to deal with this / Would Smith?&nbsp; Would Jones? Would you?&nbsp; <br /><br /></p>
<p><br />Hello HenryM.</p> <p>I love your great parody of the last verse of George's 'Little Poem'. However, as a poet and writer, I try not to rip off other people's work unless I get absolutely desparate and, even then, I usually only 'borrow' the concept rather than the words themselves.&nbsp;</p> <p>However, you have provided a concept and maybe even some motivation for a verse of my own about the sycamore tree so, as soon as I get the time, I may well put my mind to this one.</p> <p>Best wishes</p> <p>Bill&nbsp;</p>

Try bamboo leaves from a neighbors 40 ft trees do damage to a pool motor ... no smell, no detcomposing , just mess . Good thing I like trees


I have a humongous oak tree like this one in my yard. It is great for shade in the summeras it covers myhome and most of the yard. In the fall itfall the leaves are as big as your hand and there are so many of them. Then in the spring it has so much pollen and it sheds those things like in the second picture that looks like worms. But it does save on the power bill in the summer with all the shade ;Best wishes and stay safe.  width= ; width=

<p><br />Not unlike the 'cabbage tree' of NZ that seem to be the curse of their neighburs in this regard.</p>
<p>The English Oak&nbsp; is one of my favouraite trees. It harbours and supports so much wildlife and looks stunning when in a position to grown without obstruction (as in your picture). The oak stands as a monument to stability, longevity and calm serenity. the human race could learn so much from a tree like that!<br /><br /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>PS: I am sure that I have mentioned before, that each year since I was very young, on my birthday I collect an acorn for each year&nbsp;lived, and plant them&nbsp; along the many walks in the countryside that I enjoy.&nbsp; Some of my early plantings are now recognisable as quite mature trees and bring to mind an extra pride and pleasure, that I have indeed left something useful and memorable for those who come after me.&nbsp;</p> <p>Best wishes</p> <p>Bill</p>

Looks like heaven and what great fun to gather those leaves when they fall and just hide like an angel in the wind. nbsp


I hope you play in those leaves first nbsp


Hi Henry,

Your post proves the gardeners adage that a weed is just a plant in the wrong place! Your weed magnolia is our famulous garden plant - I can see one from the window now. To be fair I have one and treasure it, but if they were as common as weeds I possibly wouldn't! I think the advice to chop the leaves with the mower is as good as any. Extravagant gardeners over here buy leaf blowers, blow the leaves into a corner, then have to load them up before the wind destroys all their work. Canny gardeners simply mow them up: one action and they are collected, and chopped leaves mixed with grass cuttings make great compost!Chris

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