Magnolia Espalier & Garage


The Magnolia Espalier is one of Alice Callaway’s unique garden treatments—three southern magnolias are espaliered, or trained to grow flat, against the east side of the original 1916 garage.  This is an unusual treatment for such a large tree, and one that is admired by gardeners who pass this way. Although the magnolia does not bloom because of the many prunings necessary to maintain its shape, it softens the garage wall as Alice desired and is just one of the many ideas she introduced to the garden.

The word espalier is French, coming from the Italian spalliera, meaning “something to rest the shoulder (spalla) against.” In gardening, it is used for growing a plant, usually a woody shrub, flat against a wall or a trellis. This is a formal treatment for training plants and keeping them trimmed.


Horticultural Specimens

  • Southern magnolias (Magnolia grandiflora) in espalier form on east wall of garage. Planted by Alice Callaway.
  • Previously, large Indian hawthorns and mondo grass lined the wall surrounding the Magnolia Espalier and bench. In 2023, the area was replanted with Camellia sasanqua ‘Mine-No-Yuki’, a cultivar Alice Callaway had in the garden.

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