Archive for the ‘Frostproof’ Category

Red magnolia blossom Variety unknown

Red magnolia blossom
Variety unknown

About a year ago I discovered a very large tree bearing orangey red blossoms. Everything about this tree, including the flowers, said “magnolia.” For a year I have been trying to get a precise identity of it. And now (Feb. 2015) I have. It is a Bombax ceiba, of the mallow family. It is from Asia. It is gorgeous, but it is not a magnolia.

I am not going to change much about this post, not even the date. Just keep in mind the copy was written a year ago, before I learned this tree is not a magnolia. Also note, the information toward the end of the article concerning the Fraser magnolia is correct.

Yesterday  (in 2014) I happened to be driving up Main Street in Avon Park, a nearby town not much larger than Frostproof (where I am right now 2014) and I spied bright red blossoms in the distance.

We were in the historic section, off the main highway. There are wide park like medians between the two lanes of traffic, and the trees that were planted there so many years ago have grown quite large. As I drew nearer I could determine the red blossoms belonged to a very large deciduous magnolia, I suppose 50 feet high or better, whose drooping lower  limbs spread gracefully over the median in front of the old Jacaranda Hotel. I knew there were red magnolia species, but I had never seen one. What a treat!

I went back today with my camera. These flowers are a gorgeous orangey-red color, much like the fiery red variety of flame azalea. This magnolia blossom has not the common cup shape, nor even the drooping feathery shape. It favors a lily in this respect with a blossom resembling a star when the petals are fully unfurled.  I have been unable to identify the variety of this tree, but I am certain it is a magnolia due partly to its growth habit. In this old tree, it is pretty unmistakable. Also the flower buds (you can see one in the top left of the photo) are clearly magnolia buds. This is such a wonderful find I wanted anyone who might be interested to see it.

There are many magnolia species. In the South we are perhaps most familiar with the evergreen magnolias with their large cup shaped flowers and heady scent. But we have our share of deciduous magnolias that typically bloom before the tree puts on its leaves. There are some beautiful pink and purple ones blooming here now. On the way into Brevard from Lake Toxaway there used to be one on the right hand side of the highway. Most years the cold would get it and you’d never get to see its blossoms, but once in a while it would get by, and Oh! what beautiful orchid colored flowers they were! I’m not sure it is still there. Look for it on Highway 64 near Forest Hills Road.

Fraser magnolia

cucumber tree (Frazer magnolia)

No discussion of magnolias should exclude Transylvania County’s Frazer magnolia, or cucumber tree. Incidentally, this magnolia was first discovered by Bartram; however, credit for it eventually went to Frazer. These are fairly common in our area of the mountains. Note the super large leaves. This is a deciduous magnolia; however, this one blooms after the tree puts on its leaves.

The Old Jacaranda Hotel Avon Park, Florida

The Old Jacaranda Hotel
Avon Park, Florida

Here is the hotel. The magnolia tree is on the left. You can see the red blossoms if you look carefully.

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Pretty White Ibis

In Florida, where I am now, there are lots of birds. I enjoy hearing their beautiful singing, especially in the mornings. The larger birds in the picture do not sing however. They will make some sort of call, butImage I have never heard it. These birds travel in flocks and alight to eat worms, bugs, etc. Their bills are five to six inches long. It is a treat to watch them. The ground here is 100 percent sand and quite easy for them to dig in. There are a few colored ibis, brown mottled colored, but most are white.

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This is a picture of Toxaway Falls Stand, just adjacent to Toxaway Falls at Lake Toxaway, NC. This little business was started in 1947 by Vincent Owen, my husband Jack Owen’s father. Jack runs the store now, with help from yours truly.

In it you will find all kinds of things, from boiled peanuts and soft drinks, to coon tailed hats. These hats are very popular Davy Crockett style headgear. The hat is fake fur, but the tail is the real thing. They sell for around $8.00. We have Amish chairs, birdhouses, jams, jellies, pickles, eggs, butter, honey, and etc., etc., etc. Don’t miss this fun place. Lord willing, we will be open late April or early May.

We also offer quality giclee prints of my paintings, as well as inexpensive lithographs. We will have for sale a new item this spring – a vocal CD of old fashioned hymns I have been working on for some time. If you like this kind of music I think you will enjoy it. It is called: How Sweet The Sound, Sacred Songs From Long Ago.

My novella of historical fiction entitled Humpy Jack Fisher and the Toxaway Flood is available at the store. This is an action story about a heretofore unsung hero from the era of the Toxaway Flood of 1916. This book is the retelling of a true story told me by my mother.

And, here is a photo of the two storage cages at Toxaway Falls Stand. Jack saw something like this in Frostproof, and nothing would do until he had one for himself. The flag is made of soft drink cans, painted on the bottom, stuck through the holes in the chain link. Yours truly did most of the flag, but a little girl did the lettering for “God Bless the USA.” She did a great job, don’t you think?

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