Chris Adams
The Magnolias are Blooming!
The Magnolias are Blooming!

If you haven't witnessed the breathtaking bloom of a magnolia recently, plan a visit to the park in the coming weeks. Magnolias, with over 200 species of trees and shrubs, flourish across Asia, the Americas, and the West Indies. Remarkably, magnolias are among the oldest flowering plant families. They rely on beetles for pollination, which explains their tough, thick flowers designed to withstand beetle activity.

Magnolias are cherished as ornamental plants, renowned for their stunning appearance and wonderful fragrance. Some species have even been used in traditional medicine. These trees thrive in well-drained, slightly acidic soil and prefer full sun to achieve their best growth.

In the Americas, the magnolia has long been a symbol of the South, with its large, fragrant flowers becoming an iconic part of southern landscapes.

Local magnolias in Washington are no exception, producing some of the most spectacular and fragrant blooms. Their flowers exude a sweet, citrus-like scent that irresistibly attracts the beetles that pollinate them. To fully appreciate the beauty and fragrance of these magnificent blooms, make sure to visit the park soon.

But there's more to these magnificent trees than their blooms. The magnolias in our park hold a special place in our hearts and in the hearts of our visitors. They are like family and have weathered history’s storms and share in Washington’s rich history, thanks to Grandison Royston, a prominent lawyer in Washington and in the state. Our magnolias are southern magnolias, known for their large, white, fragrant flowers that bloom from late spring to summer. Royston planted the state grand champion (1983–1996) on Block 8, at the corner of Conway and Jay Streets, facing Town Square, which provided shade for his law office. The Royston Log Cabin now sits on this site. Another magnolia, planted by Royston shortly after his house was built in 1845, stands in front of his home. It, too, is a Southern Magnolia. Today, these trees stand as living testaments to his legacy and the enduring beauty of the magnolia.

So, not only will you be treated to the visual delight of the blossoms, but you’ll also be stepping into a piece of local history. The magnolias in our park are more than just trees; they are like a part of our family and are symbols of beauty and history here at Historic Washington State Park.