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To fit this backyard's dimensions, we've selected the dwarf Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem'). A smaller cousin of the stately tree, the Little Gem still produces the magnificent blossoms but can be kept pruned to the size of a small tree or large shrub. What makes the magnolia really beautiful are the large leaves and the huge flowers. Those do great in the South, but in areas that are colder, like the Northeast, you can substitute a plant like paulonia, which has equally huge leaves and flowers. You'll get the same effect of a romantic, strong statement tree that can really take the cold.
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