Sweet magnolia

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Messenger photos by Kristy Zurbrick Martha Mabe enjoys the blooms on a magnolia tree her sister planted over 40 years ago. The Madison County Master Gardeners selected the tree as this year’s Heritage Tree.
Messenger photos by Kristy Zurbrick
Martha Mabe enjoys the blooms on a magnolia tree her sister planted over 40 years ago. The Madison County Master Gardeners selected the tree as this year’s Heritage Tree.

(Posted April 19, 2015)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

For over 40 years, Martha Mabe has been able to look out her dining room window and see a beautiful magnolia tree, its large pink blossoms filling the branches each spring.

She has her late sister, Ruth Moody, to thank for the view. Ruth planted the magnolia as a sapling after a willow tree died in the spot between her house and Martha’s house on State Route 42 on the west side of London. The sisters lived together or next to each other their entire lives. Ruth was 97 when she passed away. Martha will be 98 in May.

“Ruth was quite a flower lover. She was for flowering trees,” Martha said. “She was active in garden clubs and won garden of the month.”

Now another title has been bestowed. The Madison County Master Gardeners selected Ruth’s magnolia tree as this year’s Heritage Tree. Launched in 2009, the Heritage Tree program is designed to build awareness for the value of Madison County’s trees and to encourage residents and businesses to continue to plant trees to enhance the county.

Previous winners dwarf Ruth’s 31-foot tall magnolia, from a 61-foot tall burr oak at the Madison County Fairgrounds in London to a 107-foot tall larch at Forest Grove Cemetery near Plain City. What the magnolia lacks in height, it makes up for in memories.

“You would be surprised how many grandchildren have climbed that tree—four generations,” said Becky McCoy, Martha’s daughter.

Among the climbers was Joel McCoy, Becky’s son, Martha’s grandson, and Ruth’s great-nephew. Joel and his wife, Robin, and their four children nominated the magnolia for recognition.

“This is my favorite tree on the property. It looks like a gigantic flower when it blooms,” he said.

The Master Gardeners choose a Heritage Tree each year in April, coinciding with Arbor Day. To learn more about the program, call the Ohio State University Extension Office, (740) 852-0975.

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