Magnolias are instantly recognisable with their beautiful, distinctive, goblet-shaped blooms, produced on bare stems in spring before the leaves. They’re perfect for creating an instant impact, as standalone, specimen shrubs or small trees, either in the ground or a container. With the range of varieties introduced recently, there is a choice of flower colours from pure white to pink and lemon-yellow and different sizes ranging from compact trees for smaller gardens to taller growers that look majestic when given a larger space. They prefer an enriched soil in full sun or partial shade in a sheltered spot of the garden, away from frost pockets and protected from strong winds. Magnolias are fully hardy but their flower buds may be damaged by harsh winter frosts. Interestingly, as their flowers typically proceeds bees, this ancient genus has evolved its unique flowers to encourage pollination by beetles. Limit pruning of deciduous magnolias to the removal of dead and damaged branches in late winter or early spring each year – heavy pruning can induce ‘watershoots’ (long, vertical, vigorous shoots) and dieback.