Magnolia Re-birthed: New life for Destin's famed Magnolia
The iconic magnolia tree from the Destin harbor is expecting quadruplets.
“Very exciting – babies of the Destin Magnolia,” said Legendary Inc. owner Peter Bos.
Bos explained that in 2014 when the beloved Destin magnolia died, he decided to save four cuttings from the healthiest part of the tree and send them to a nursery to attempt to grow offspring.
“Two years ago, half the tree suddenly died, boom like that, and we knew we had to act quickly,” he said. “We said, ‘Can we get the offspring?’ and they (the arborists) said, ‘Yeah we can do cuttings and get seedlings.”
Propagation from plant cuttings is a common method of gardening used to produce new plants identical to the parent plant. In most cases several cuttings are taken at once to insure growth, as it is not common that all will be successful in taking root. According to www.gardeningknowhow.com, with magnolia trees in particular, cuttings must be well maintained in a protected environment for at least one year before being replanted as many cutting growth attempts are known to fail.
The Destin magnolia cuttings however, all seem to be surviving and have been cultivating for a year and a half in southern Florida, watched over by ValleyCrest Landscape Maintenance Company. In the last months of 2015, Bos learned that at least one young tree was strong and healthy, and the rest were steadily showing signs of growth.
“The reason we did four (cuttings) was to make sure we got one,” said Bos. “We actually got all four, but this is the healthiest one. Like all children some will grow bigger than the rest. They are little today but they grow up fast.”
Plans are now in the beginning stages for a memorial patch of magnolias to be planted on the Emerald Grande property.
“Hopefully we will get four and plant them in a row, the idea is to keep the family together,” said Bos. “We plan to plant them right on the hill as you go up to Starbucks near the ramp at the top of the stage. We will put up a monument, a park called Magnolia Park with the four trees there with the children staying close to mom, they will be able to see each other.”
When the original Destin magnolia died many blamed the HarborWalk Village and the Emerald Grande development for it’s death. Bos said with that in mind he is taking every precaution with these young trees to insure the best chance of life for the trees.
“The negative is that one day there will be more development, so wherever we plant it we want it to never have to deal with that problem,” he said. “We want to grow it far away enough from the building that it will not be in the path of accelerated wind. During high winds or storms the wind has to accelerate around the building to get around it so we have to make sure the tree is far enough away from the building that it won’t get damaged by the wind. The idea is to plant them where they wont be disturbed.”
For now, the baby magnolias will stay in the nursery where they can grow stronger and more robust before their permanent planting.
“We decided to greenhouse them for one more year to try to get them healthier,” said Bos. “We just don’t want to take a chance and prematurely do this.”
As for the mother magnolia, she was transformed last year into an artistic wood sculpture by local artist Marlin Miller. The tree sculpture, still standing on it’s original roots, is now a highly pictured art piece as it displays local marine life such as mahi mahi, dolphin, blue heron, sea turtles and even a scuba diver.