SARATOGA SPRINGS — The bright buds of Saratoga’s magnolias are just beginning to open – and one Spa City resident is attempting to map out each and every one on her Instagram page.
Magnolias can be any of 210 flowering tree or shrub species, but they’re best known around Saratoga Springs as white or pink flowers that appear in the spring, heralding warmer weather to come.
Megan Mumford Klepetar, a professional photographer and mother of two, started the Instagram page @saratogamagnolia to share her love of the plants with other locals.
“I was taking a walk with my husband recently, and I just simply said to him, ‘I wish there was a map of all the magnolias in the city,’” said Klepetar. “So I created one!”
So far, she’s catalogued locations of more than 60 trees throughout Saratoga Springs. Though they’re often associated with the American South (the Magnolia grandiflora is the state flower of Mississippi and Louisiana), the deciduous or evergreen varieties grow well in northern climates like upstate New York.
Klepetar said she’s found two major types in the city: the white star-shaped flowers which are in bloom currently, and magnolias with pink buds that haven’t opened yet.
“I think the pink ones will bloom this week if the weather is warm, then they’ll drop all their leaves and that’s it. The magnolia bloom season is really short,” said Klepetar.
The trees mapped so far stretch from the east of the city, near the Saratoga United Methodist Church, through downtown, and west down Grand Avenue and out of the city. Klepetar’s favorite tree is a huge, old magnolia in the backyard of one of Saratoga’s famous old homes on the West Side.
If you go on your own walking tour of the city and find more magnolias, you can message Klepetar via her Instagram – though she’s done a fair amount of searching already.
“I spent two hours one day driving around while my baby napped in the backseat, looking for these,” said Klepetar.
Saratoga’s urban forest isn’t just limited to magnolias. For a map of hundreds of different species of trees around the city, you can check out a resource made by the Sustainable Saratoga’s Urban Forestry project at www.saratogaspringstrees.org.