While springtime in Japan is characterized by Sakura, here on Cape Cod, the familiar site of the star magnolia, another Japanese bloom, is beginning to dot the landscape.
(Otherwise known as Magnolia stellata)
Blooming sooner than its magnolia counterparts, the star yields white flowers in April, with a delicate fragrance, reaching a mature height of 15-20 feet. Several cultivars also feature pink flowers. In addition to the buds, even the bark itself is pretty, with a rustic simplicity.
The star magnolia works well in small spaces, and can be planted in sun or partial shade, in well-drained soil with a shelter from heavier winds. Therefore, it is ideal for a sheltered garden nook.
Although there is a downside – the propensity for magnolia scale – it is a common pest that is easily treatable with a horticultural oil, making it a wonderful addition to any Cape Cod garden.