Bank Holiday Monday and in the morning the sun was shining with a gentle warmth out of a cloudy sky, so we thought it would be good to catch the blooms in the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park. It was the first time I had been there in what seems like a couple of decades.
The rhododendrons and azaleas were out in profusion and riots of colour, but most of the magnolias had had their moment of glory. Apart, that is, from the one you see here: Magnolia sieboldii subsp. sinensis. Named after the German doctor Philipp Franz von Siebold (1796–1866), Siebold's Magnolia is native to China, Japan and Korea and has dramatically pendulous single blooms and large papery leaves very different from the thick, waxy ones to be found on the commoner spring-flowering varieties of magnolia.
It is the national flower of North Korea.