Pink Magnolia

Pink Magnolia, Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin

Pink Magnolia © 2011 Bo Mackison

I finally found a sunny time to drive across town and see how the flowers were faring at the Olbrich Botanical Gardens. I had a nice surprise. Even though many of the flowers are several weeks behind their normal blooming time, the entire garden in filled with flowering beauties. The magnolia trees are in bloom. I think the magnolia has one of the more interesting flowers.

Scientists think that the magnolia is one of the older flowers on earth, believed to have evolved before bees, for the magnolia is designed for pollination by beetles. (The magnolia is not the oldest of flowers, that distinction goes to the water-lily.) The magnolia bloom has many primitive features including a large number of both pistils and stamens–the reproductive parts of the flower. In comparison, most flowers have only one pistil and five stamens. The magnolias’ large number occur in spiraled rows and cluster together above the petals.

The magnolia has between six and twelve petals plus an additional three sepals. Typical of primitive flowers, the petals and sepals are nearly identical in shape and color. This magnolia, the Loebner magnolia, has a purplish hue. Other magnolias range in colors from pure white to yellowish-green to pink to lavender.

The trees, when planted in groupings, are quite a marvelous sight–twenty five foot tall trees covered with thousands of almost translucently tinted flowers.


I am back home after spending the first part of 2011 in Arizona. It has taken some time to adjust to life in Wisconsin, but now that the spring flowers blooming and the sun is finally shining, life is good.


About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Marcie says:

    Exquisite beauty!! I love magnolias – and they are so short lived!! And – am lovin’ the new look of your site here. So much to see..and absorb. Beautiful!!!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Thanks, Marcie. The website still needs fine tuning, but much of it is at least functional. I love magnolias too–they have such interesting contortions and color shading.

  2. Just in time for Spring–a new magnolia blossom on a newly designed website–and both are lovely!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Yep, a new website for the upcoming art fair season! And so happy to be shooting the flowers blooming everywhere! Yay, finally!

  3. Gandalf says:

    More info that i never knew, but good to know. Glad you are getting some sun time up North.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      I love examining the magnolias now, thinking about their long history. Yes, happy the sun is shining, weather is improving, too!

  4. I never knew that about the magnolia. I love the way you captured it. 🙂

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