I am SO excited! I just accidentally stumbled upon a blog that told me exactly what the tree is that I've been admiring at the park where I've been doing my open-water-swim training:
The tree is a Sweetbay Magnolia!
(and the blog post above is REALLY interesting and informative and you should totally go read it. It's about native plants and... my favorite... BUGS!!)
There are two of these trees planted near the Pinchot park facilities and they always smell so, sooo good. (Except when the entire park smells like dead decaying flesh.) But the flowers are magnificent and relatively small, compared to the magnolias with which most people are familiar; however, you can absolutely tell it's a member of the magnolia family.
The other really cool thing about this tree is it's a native species of the southeast! That means if I get a yard when we move and get to plant one, which I totally plan to now that I know what it is, I'll be supplying the native insects with food that they can actually use! YAY!
According to the map on Wikipedia, DC seems to be right on the line of where these babies can survive. But I figure if they can survive up here in PA, they can survive down there, too.
I am so excited to start planning a garden again....
Picture from WIkiCommons:
Photo by and (c)2008 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man) and the Chanticleer Garden.