Welcome to Blaine Manor


Blaine Manor

They say (to paraphrase slightly) that "One's home is one's 
castle.", and ours is just that:  Our beloved realm.  We refer to it 
(perhaps somewhat grandly) as Blaine Manor.  In actuality, it is an 
old family joke which was started by my now deceased father-in-
law, Sam, and was originally a reference to the home my husband 
grew up in, but is now perpetuated by us and is a reference to our 

We live in Orange, Essex County, (Northern) New Jersey, USA.
Orange is a city with a population of approximately 30,000.  It is 
rather urban, being adjacent to Newark (the county seat and home 
of Newark International Airport).  Mid-town Manhattan (usually 
referred to as "The City") is easily visible, and only a short distance 
away:  a 12 minute train ride during "rush hour", or a 20 minute 
drive in (through the Lincoln or Holland Tunnels) when it is NOT 
"rush hour". 

The Oranges (East Orange, Orange, West Orange, and South 
Orange) are still, even in the 21st century, an obviously once 
heavily forested area.  Trees of all kinds (many are very, very old 
and huge) still stand tall over the residences and businesses of the 
area.  Many of these are trees which blossom every Spring and 
Summer, and there is quite a variety.  The time from early Spring 
through late Spring is truly beautiful here.  There are plenty of 
flowering pear trees, apple trees, crabapple trees, quince trees, 
flowering plum trees, dogwoods, mulberry trees, weeping cherry 
trees, just to name a few, all over the Oranges.  There is also a 
very special species of magnolia, known as the "Fig Magnolia", 
which is seen everywhere. 

There is a funny historic anecdote regarding these magnolias, too. 
A peddler went through this area in the second quarter of the 19th 
century selling what he claimed were a special species of the fig 
tree which was "guaranteed" to be hardy for this climate and still 
produce the fruit.  (Of course, there is no fig hardy enough for our 
climate!)  Anyway, "our" Victorian ancestors bought all of his baby 
"fig" trees  --  practically every one had planted at least one or two 
of these trees in their yards.  Imagine what a surprise everybody 
had when these trees turned out to be large, beautiful, hardy 
magnolias, instead !!  Of course, the peddler was long gone, and 
nowhere to be found, after his duplicity was discovered !! 

As it turns out, these magnolias come in two distinct varieties, and 
neither of them has ever been found anywhere else in the world 
except this area.  (Love to know where the wily peddler found 

One variety is a tree that grows with only one main trunk and it 
branches out wide and bushy (much like an apple tree, only much 
larger) and approximate average height is 30 feet to 50 feet. 

The other variety is a tree that grows with several trunks -- no 
single main trunk -- (more like a bush, only it is a large tree) and 
tends to appear to be a small clump of trees squished close 
together until you inspect it closer and realize that it is actually one 
tree.  This kind is slightly smaller than the other magnolia, growing 
to approximately 25 feet to 35 feet in height, although some of 
these are taller. 

Both varieties have large traditionally shaped magnolia blossoms 
that look and smell like their southern cousins.  The flowers vary 
slightly in their pale pink color from tree to tree, but all of them are 
easily recognizable as magnolias.  In fact, on the few occasions 
when we've had house guests from North Carolina, South Carolina, 
Tennessee, and Georgia, all have expressed astonishment to see 
magnolias growing this far North. 

We have one of these magnolias, which pretty much dominates our 
front yard (the kind with a single main trunk).  Just a few years ago, 
I planted a new hardy species of dwarf magnolia (a "baby" tree of 
only 5 years old) in our back yard, which has small white blossoms 
and is supposed to grow only to about 8 feet to 10 feet high, but 
that is not at all like these wonderful old magnolias.

Branchbrook Park in Newark is well known for it's flowering cherry
trees (cherry blossoms).  It has the largest number of cherry
blossoms in the country.  Even more than are found in Washington DC!
In the springtime, people come from all over the world in record numbers
to see these beautiful blossoms!

Every spring, Main Street in West Orange is lined with flowering 
pear trees.  All up and down Main Street, both sides of the street 
are lined with those beautiful fluffy white blossoms...  It is incredibly 

Check out the
Washington Tree
Article from the Star-Ledger


Last Updated: October 08, 2001
Page Design:   Gregory M. Ross