Magnolia, Ottawa

Faithful readers will certainly know of my troubles with squirrels. Casual readers likely know. Heck, passers-by in the street probably have some idea.

The worst squirrel sin — of many — is what they do to the buds on my magnolia tree. Each Spring, just as I think that the tree is about to stun me with beautiful blooms, I get a shot as if from a stun gun: a tree stripped bare by these ravenous rodents.

In recent years, I have taken to painting the buds with a noxious mixture of cayenne pepper and water, but even when I stand on a ladder my reach does not exceed the squirrels’ grasp. Oh, I know what a heaven’s for.

This year, although the squirrels stripped one half of the tree — the side adjacent to the fence, along which they scamper so sweetly — I got to some of the buds in time. Our late Spring meant that the buds went from bud-like to past-their-prime flowers in about five hours when they finally did get going, but it was still a spectacular display.

Close-up of magnolia buds surviving squirrel depredations2-photo collage of magnolia buds2-photo collageof magnolia blossoms that survived the squirrels2-photo collage of full magnolia blooms


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10 Responses to Magnolia, Ottawa

  1. Such a luxury of beauty deserves to be savored. The photographs, at least, allow you that feast of pleasure.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – Yes, they don’t last long or even long enough. The summer-flowering shrubs do better on the persistence scale, perhaps, but can’t match these Spring spectaculars on the pulchritude scale.

  2. Lorna Shapiro says:

    Fabulous photos Isabel!

  3. Fed up with the continuing cold, one “spring” we drove south to find it — got to Savannah just as the magnolias were budding. We spent a few days until they left their peak and drove north in time to watch another batch of magnolias come out…etc., every few days, a move north. It’s an extreme way to see the blossoms over longer than a few hours/days…but worth it.

    We returned after a month and Ottawa was still cold and dealing with freezing rain….sigh.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – Lovely. I’ve only seen magnolia in profusion in Vancouver, which I think must be our most beautiful Spring city.

  4. Tom Watson says:

    Isabel, Isabel…squirrels are people too!

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Tom – I used to think so, too, before I shared my ecological niche with them.

    • Jim Taylor says:

      Tom, if you’ve ever looked a squirrel in the eye, or in the buck teeth, or anything really up close, you’d realize that squirrels are rats. Big rats. Big furry rats. And they probably carry bubonic plague with them…
      Jim T

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