Driving around after some of the extreme fluctuations in temperatures, you may notice trees that are covered with brown flower buds that look like tissue paper. Those are what are left of the flowers of the non-native magnolias commonly called Star Magnolia (white flowers) and Saucer Magnolia. (pink flowers). From my view, these magnolias do not steal the show like our natives! While those magnolias have a wonderful architectural branching structure and nice ornamental buds for winter interest, they often get tricked into blooming with the first mild temperatures in April. In addition, those plentiful and enormous flowers tend to leave quite a mess even if they do make it thru the frost.
AlterNATIVES such as the Sweetbay Magnolia or Cucumber Magnolia are far better suited for the unpredictable climate and have so much more to offer in the way of fruit for the birds in the fall. So while we all are anticipating spring, consider planting some ornamental trees that will not break out of dormancy until its safe to bloom!