During the Morrises’ time, this slope and the meadows below it were used for agricultural purposes. Magnolias began to be planted here after the property became part of the University. The oldest specimen on the slope is Magnolia stellata ‘Rubra’ (32-3183*A), a plant that was sent to Lydia Morris in 1930, but not planted until after her death in 1932. This star magnolia was planted as part of early developments of the Magnolia Slope.
The concept of using this north-facing slope for magnolias was enhanced by John M. Fogg, Jr., the Arboretum’s Director from 1959-1966. Dr. Fogg, a founder of the Magnolia Society International, expanded the magnolia collection to study “the adjustment of these interesting plants to our local conditions”. The Magnolia Slope is an evolving part of the Arboretum’s collections, and one of our most beautiful and dramatic spring displays.