In the mid-2000s, under the guidance of former Executive Director Donald Hendricks and working with local magnolia hybridizer Dennis Ledvina (1939-2015), the Garden started an official magnolia collection. Space was cleared for the collection in 2005, with plantings added that same year. The intent of the magnolia collection is to show the wide range of flower forms and colors, along with the plant habits available to home owners and landscape professionals in the upper Midwest and similar climates.
Green Bay Botanical Garden is proud to be recognized as one of the many gardens in the Magnolia Multisite Collection™, the only Plant Collections Network (PCN) collection in the state of Wisconsin. The Garden is home to 161 magnolias and 120 taxa, of which 14 taxa are unique to the PCN. Located in USDA Hardiness zone 5a (-20°F to -15°F is the average annual minimum winter temperature), ours is the coldest site in the Magnolia Multisite Collection™. However, in the winter of 2019 temperatures of -26°F and -25°F were recorded at the Garden, which is equivalent to USDA Hardiness zone 4b!
Visit the collection in May to experience its magnificent blooms and consider adding one of our varieties to your garden at home!
Many of our magnolia cultivars (magnolia varieties) represent the breeding work of Ledvina. His work with international colleagues concentrated on creating magnolias with unique characteristics including:
When Ledvina passed, he was working with big leaf magnolias as well as his other hybridizing efforts. Some of the crosses that he bred include Magnolia ‘Rose Marie’ in memory of his late mother, Magnolia ‘Royal Splendor’, Magnolia ‘Cotton Candy’, Magnolia ‘Sweet Love’, and Magnolia ‘Red Baron’.
As the Garden develops its remaining six acres, it will continue to incorporate magnolias that extend Dennis Ledvina’s goal of cold hardiness and the Garden’s mission of connecting people and plants.
Magnolias, ranging from large shrubs to trees, are prized worldwide for their form and showy, fragrant flowers in a range of colors.
Bloom season at the Garden typically starts in late April and peaks in mid-May, with some plants continuing to flower into June. Magnolia hybridization has resulted in a variety of flower forms and colors to choose from.
*Tepals: the name given to the showy parts of a flower when the petals look the same as the sepals. In many plants, sepals are often green and protect the petals while a flower bud forms.
Changing climates and weather patterns are ongoing threats to the livelihood of magnolia cultivars throughout the Garden and elsewhere. Our Horticulture Team continues to work on preservation techniques for the more unique magnolias in our collection, including big leaf cultivars and magnolias hybridized by Ledvina.
Members of the Horticulture Team are implementing a disaster preparedness plan by safeguarding the 14 unique taxa exclusive to our collection. The goal is to duplicate these magnolias and find them additional homes in case an unexpected disaster affects magnolias on site.
The Team is also propagating some of Ledvina’s last magnolia hybrids. He owned a lot in Green Bay near the Garden where he had planted out more than 300 magnolia seedlings for evaluation.
The Plant Collections Network coordinates a continent-wide approach to plant germplasm (genetic material) preservation, and promotes excellence in plant collections management. Today, the Plant Collections Network includes over 140 accredited collections throughout North America, stewarded by over 80 participating institutions.
More than 15 arboreta and botanical gardens across the US, Canada, and Mexico curate the Nationally Accredited Multisite Magnolia Collection, which consists of over 625 magnolia species. In 2018, Green Bay Botanical Garden attained Nationally Accredited status. The multi-institutional collaborative approach allows for the curation and study of Magnolia to occur at a magnitude unachievable by a single site, with the potential to expand as the group continues to grow both in size and regional diversity.
View and bid on hundreds of items like plant containers and hanging baskets, various gift packages, outdoor living items, and so much more.
will be moved indoors with limited seating due to Friday’s weather forecast. Tickets are no longer available. We apologize for any inconvenience!
October 20-23 | Vanderperren English Cottage Garden Closed