When I think of flowers from the South, I think of magnolias. I see the great big magnolia tree by my grandmother's house - the one that had low-hanging branches perfect for climbing, then hiding away for a few hours while I read a book.
I had a friend who lived in the Appalachian mountains who had trouble keeping her magnolias alive, and I always chalked it up to the colder winters she experienced. So when I moved to Utah, I thought I'd never see a magnolia again.
I was wrong.
First, I was surprised to see them at my garden center. This is a pretty sensible place, so I thought they must be out of their minds to sell something that couldn't make it through a Utah winter. But it turns out some varieties are pretty coldhardy - withstanding temperatures as low as -30 F. So then I thought maybe it was something just at the garden center, and nobody around here would actually plant one.
I've been spotting blooming magnolias all over the place. None as big as my grandmother's, but not unlike the little varieties my mother has in her garden. What a good surprise.