Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana)

Another picture of the grass in "Green". I don't know what kind of grass is this is. Is the
effect not amazing? Mesmerizing, even. This photo is just as it came out of the camera.

The grass came up between two of the pastures this spring along
with Blue Toadflax, a host of the Orangetip Falcate butterfly.

In late April of last year I had my camera with me to get some pictures of a nearby wild Sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana) and had to snap a couple of pictures of the grass too. The Sweetbay is to the right in the below picture.

I was delighted to discover that sweetbays grow wild on the farm when we moved here.

The flowers of the sweetbay are somewhat shy, and nestle down among the leaves,
but there are many and so they do have impact. They are much daintier than the
flowers of Magnolia grandiflora. The fragrance is sweet and lemony.

The leaves are as beautiful as the flowers.

These leaves are too new to show the quality that makes them so special: their silvery undersides, which adds a wonderful dimension when the leaves are dancing in a summer breeze. (Sweetbays are not evergreen; they are tardily deciduous, and so lose their leaves late in winter.)

This tree and my Thoroughbred mare are the namesakes for our farm. She was a bay mare, and the sweetest horse anyone could imagine.


  1. That's so interesting to learn how you named your farm. Very nice.
    That first grass photo is absolutely mesmerizing. It makes me think if I looked at it long enough, something would come out of it!!!

  2. What an interesting looking butterfly. These photos are truly warm looking.

  3. Good morning and thank you once again for a wonderful post. Now I know the story behind your blog name. How nice to have that sweetbay growing so freely on your farm. I loved that butterfly sipping from the Toadflax, so delicate and pretty.

    Happy Gardening ~ FlowerLady

  4. Sweetbay,

    Wonderful photo of the Falcate Orangetip, something to look forward to in the coming months.

  5. Your butterfly is new to me, will have to keep my eyes open for him in the coming months.
    What a find to have the Sweetbay growing wild on your property. Some say it is semi-evergreen, guess it depends on the climate/placement/ etc....
    On this gray day is nice to see the sunny meadow photos.

  6. Sweetbay is one of my most treasured trees, and I have two small ones outside my bedroom window. I love the glittery silver backed leaves and I love the tree's look and form. But the shy flowers have no lemon scent for me. Don't know why. None. Still, they're keepers. I have always assumed you named your blog for this tree... nice to know the farm and your mare are called Sweetbay!

  7. Ooh, I love sweetbays! My son has them growing with wild abandon on his property as well. They are so beautiful and fragrant! Makes me want to pull up some of my old April photos as well. I actually grabbed some great shots last spring and had one painted on a canvas for my son and dil's house.

  8. Now I know where your name came from. I love the sweetbays. I'll have to look around our property to see if we have any. Carla

  9. Hi sweetbay. I was wondering about the name, now I know. I think it is the nicest to have an animal with a special sweet nature. The photography
    is fantastic. The grass is amazing and the butterfly absolutely gorgeous. Nature at its best.

  10. I enjoyed reading about the inspiration for your blog's name.
    Green is one of my most favorite colors. I love the simple picture of the grass- so very fresh and bright!
    The shot of the butterfly is also especially lovely. I like the pattern on its wings.

  11. This was really interesting to learn how you came by this name. I had never even heard of Sweetbays before, but I do love magnolias; how nice that you have these growing wild on your farm.

    That is one of the prettiest butterflies I've ever seen! Its wings look like a designer fabric.

  12. Hi Sweetbay, now i know there is such a tree as sweetbay, i thought your name is just a nice concocted term. That green grass is so beautiful, i always get that kind of shot too, sometimes i also post it here, though of different color. I saw you posted it also before this one. Lovely photos.

  13. Wonderful photos! The first two are especially breathtaking. A sweet bay magnolia grows in my front garden; I love the lemony scent of its flowers!

  14. Sweetbay your photograph of the Orangetip Falcate butterfly is beautiful!! Your Sweetbay magnolia is so stunning. I had one growing here . . . tiny and it never bloomed. Finally I lost it to the winter. It is lovely to see yours so tall and in bloom. Your Prince does seem like a sweet bay. It is great to learn of your namesakes. ;>)


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