Recommendations for a Magnolia
This is my first post here so excuse my ignorance! >.We've recently moved into a new house and have began the daunting task of landscaping. I really want to plant a magnolia tree except I'm stuck on what variety to plant. I was hoping someone would be able to give me some suggestions!
I know that I want a deciduous tree, one who blooms before the leaves appear. I'd also like the blooms to be fragrant. They don't need to be overwhelmingly so, but at least a hint of fragrance, enough that you might slightly pick it up as you walk by. I'd prefer a variety that grows wider and not one with a more columnar growth habit (although I've been reading this can be changed to some extent with pruning?). I'm less concerned about bloom color (they're all so beautiful!!) so long as the flowers are slightly fragrant.
Most importantly I want it to grow well in my zone. I'm in Vallejo, CA, USDA zone 9b, sunset zone 17. The weather here is incredibly mild. It rarely freezes in the winter but the summers are hardly ever hot (70 to 80 degrees and often overcast in the mornings) and we don't get a whole lot of rain, just guesstimating about 15 in. per year, mostly Dec-Feb. We also have clay soil.
Obviously I love the classic soulangeana, but so does everyone else in the neighborhood and it might be nice to have something a little different. But with so many different hybrids available its a little overwhelming! So does anyone out there have any suggestions or favorites?