More than 25 years ago, my Nanny purchased this beautiful magnolia tree as a sapling and planted it in her front yard. It was a source of mockery for several members of our extended family, who thought it uproariously funny that she would expect to raise a magnolia - tempermental tree and lover of southern, more temperate climates such as it is - in Canadian conditions.
Many years and one relocation (from street-front to directly outside the dining room window) later, and what was once a skinny sapling of four feet tall with two or three tiny buds has become a gorgeous 25-foot-tall tree with hundreds, if not thousands, of blooms each spring.
I love this tree not just for the beautiful color and scent - though these are definitely wrapped up in my feelings for it - but more because my Nanny had faith in it, and devoted such time and effort to raising it well and strong. Every year she smugly took a photo of it to show off its growth and sing the praises of its heartiness to all the nay-sayers, until those nay-sayers conceded defeat and acknowledged that she had been right, they had been wrong, and that the tree was beautiful.
I don't take photos of every year, but each day I look at it and appreciate the efforts my Nan went to to ensure it thrived. The flowers only last for a week or two until rain or wind makes the petals drop, but while it's blooming there is no more stunning tree on the street and even when the flowers disappear and the leaves come forward, she's proud and pretty and - like everything and everyone my Nanny loved - a testament to the strength of her care and devotion.