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Great Barrington’s famous magnolia

Last year this tree was the talk of the town – maybe even the talk of the southern Berkshires – because the quick-shop gas station next door wanted to expand its parking lot into the land next door. This would have meant moving a rather substantial, though shabby, house, and perhaps no one would have objected strongly to that. But this lovely tree – the largest magnolia I’ve seen in the area – would have been cut down, and to my amazement this prospect really galvanized opposition. Even in January, when blossom was a memory. This isn’t a great photo but I hope it suggests how generally seedy that strip of Main Street is, and how very much it is beautified (almost beatified, in fact) by the billows of pink petals. The New England magnolia is generally pink, with smaller blossom than those gorgeous big southern trees with the huge creamy flowers. Last week I saw a tiny magnolia on south Main Street that had blossoms so pink and sharply edged that it looked as though someone had tied pink ribbons to the branches.


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