I grew up climbing Magnolia trees, especially those at Duke Gardens, when we still lived in Durham. The trees were so tall, and the branches perfect for climbing . . . you could go until it was just you and the sky. . . I know there is a picture of me, somewhere in the files, playing far up in one of those glorious trees, circa 1981. I went back with Mom and Dad in 2006, and sat in the branches of one of them, and the nostalgia was pretty heavy.
We planted a Magnolia tree in our yard in Shelby, around 1990. Now it is over forty feet tall and produces perhaps hundreds of giant fragrant flowers a year. Here's a watercolor I did of one of the pods, with one last bright red seed hanging on.