Book Description Review It is curious that there are not more books devoted to magnolias, which are surely some of the most magnificent garden trees. Magnolias combine elegant shape, delectable fragrance, and stunning blossoms with being easy to grow--what's not to love? The only tricky thing about magnolias is sorting out all the different kinds and deciding which to choose for your own garden. Graham Rankin's book will help in this process, but will no doubt influence many readers to grow a few more magnolias than they ever intended. First of all, it is a beautiful book. Oversized and filled with glorious color photos, Magnolia is a public relations document of the first order. And the color! Magnolias come in pure yellow, glowing white, softest petal pink, and even wine red. It is easy to believe pastels were invented just for magnolias. These photographs show off the waxy texture of the flowers, their cupped or spidery shapes, and their colorful center stamen to the extent that you'll be tempted to put your nose up close to the page to try to get a hit of their lemon-sweet perfume. But this is more than a celebration of the beauty and variety of magnolias: Rankin gives detailed and knowledgeable information on care, when to prune, how to plant, disease and insects, and staking and transplanting. He recommends spring bulbs, lilies, ferns, and hostas for companion plantings. Thumbing through the directory section of the book, you'll find that there is a magnolia for nearly every situation that requires a tree: star magnolia (Magnolia stellata) stays small, has charmingly plump and fuzzy buds in winter, and blooms early in pink or white; Magnolia grandiflora is a statuesque and most useful evergreen, its glossy green leaves trimmed with undersides in furry bronze, blooming in midsummer with huge, fragrant flowers. And those are only two of the hundreds of magnolias presented in this sumptuous guide to growing this most desirable of garden trees. --Valerie Easton Read more