Last year I bought two lenses: a wide angle and a telescopic zoom. With the benefit of hindsight, I’ve learned that it takes me about a year’s worth of photographs to understand a lens to the point where I can visualize the composition of a photograph prior to picking up the camera. I spent most of last year learning the telescopic zoom; the plan this year is to learn how to effectively use the wide angle lens. These two photographs illustrate the difference between the lenses. In fact, the same flower appears in both (it is the second flower from the top in the wide angle photo, though actually the topmost on the plant).
In the garden’s plant database, this Sargent’s magnolia has a parenthetical remark: dark-flowered selection. Appropriately so, compared to what is more typically seen in cultivation [note from 2018 update: this entry was originally posted as Magnolia sargentiana var. robusta, the name was altered due in part to discussions in the comments below].
Native to the Sichuan province in China, it is interesting to note that the showy Sargent’s magnolia has only been known to Western scientists since 1903, when Ernest Wilson encountered it during one of his plant exploration expeditions.