Father and son Felix and Mark Jury of Taranaki Region, New Zealand, have introduced a modest number of very distinct hybrids which have achieved international distribution and acclaim in the present century. Their hybrids fall into two quite distinct groups, deciduous magnolias involving species of Section Yulania, and evergreens using members of Section Michelia.
Already a successful breeder of camellias and other plants (e.g. Phormium ‘Yellow Wave’), Felix Jury set out in the early 1960s to produce campbellii-influenced deciduous hybrids with large, strongly coloured cup-and-saucer-shaped flowers while still young. Pollen parents were M. ‘Mark Jury’ (q.v. – a seedling of M. campbellii ‘Lanarth’, probably a hybrid with M. sargentiana, received by Jury from Hillier Nurseries as ‘Lanarth’) or – less often – ‘Lanarth’ itself. Seed parents were M. × soulangeana ‘Lennei’ and ‘Lennei Alba’, plus forms and other hybrids of M. liliiflora. His eight named cultivars – ‘Apollo’, ‘Athene’, ‘Atlas’, ‘Iolanthe’, ‘Lotus’, ‘Milky Way’, ‘Serene’ and ‘Vulcan’ are described on the alphabetical Magnolia cultivars pages. Mark Jury has introduced a further four which have ‘Vulcan’ or ‘Atlas’ as pollen parents: ‘Jurmag1’ (BLACK TULIP); ‘Jurmag2’ (FELIX JURY); ‘Jurmag4’ (BURGUNDY STAR); and ‘Jurmag5’ (HONEY TULIP). He has prioritized early, successional flowering down the length of branches, large flowers on a modestly sized tree, and ease of propagation when selecting. Intensity of colour is a key feature of many Jury Magnolias, but it should be noted that the colour of some of the darker ones – notably ‘Vulcan’ – is less impressive in Britain and northern Europe than in warmer climates (Jury 2017; Jury & Jury 2021).
Mark Jury’s second, evergreen group of hybrids results from crossing M. laevifolia with M. doltsopa and M. × foggii (M. figo × M. doltsopa), aiming to increase the diversity of michelias suitable for smaller gardens. Three have been released internationally: ‘Micjur01’ (FAIRY MAGNOLIA BLUSH); ‘Micjur02’ (FAIRY MAGNOLIA CREAM); and ‘Micjur05’ (FAIRY MAGNOLIA WHITE) (Jury 2017).
Breeding work is ongoing, with further cultivars from each group in the pipeline (A. Jury pers. comm. 2022).