How did this happen? How did a burst of huge, waxy, pale pink and peach and ivory and white flowers suddenly appear on the magnolia trees of south west London without me noticing? I realise I haven't been that way for a couple of weeks but there was nothing round here to suggest that the magnolias' magical moment was imminent. I wouldn't have thought fifteen miles was enough to create a different magnolia macro-climate, but clearly I am wrong.
The magnolias of Richmond and Kew and Hampton are covered in huge blooms, and I have been doing my usual pointing-out to whoever is in, or driving, the car. If my three children do not know by now what a magnolia looks like, I have failed as a mother.
These are all in Kew Gardens (photos taken today) where you can get very close to the trees without having to climb over someone's garden wall. I love the way the pocket handkerchief front gardens round there are completely filled with magnificent, extravagant magnolia flowers for a few days each year, then go back to being very plain and neat and unshowy for the rest of the time.
Definitely worth a detour.