Winter highlights: Dogwood
Dogwood, Cornus alba
During the winter months, dogwoods (Cornus), such as the red barked dogwood (Cornus alba) brighten the arboretum.
In order to ensure that the dogwoods have a dramatic effect, we plant them in large groups in sunny spots, where their stems can glow to full effect. In order to ensure that the stems remain colourful, we cut them back to within 6 inches of the ground every other March to ensure a fresh supply of colourful new stems.
Due to the smooth, straight twigs of dogwood, they were historically used to make butchers’ skewers. Skewers used to be called ‘dogs’ or ‘dags’ which is how the name Dogwood was given meaning ‘skewer wood’.
As with many plants, a variety of cultivated forms of dogwood are available. Two of the most popular are ‘Winter Flame’ which has a mass of tiny stems in shades of yellow, red and orange that resemble flickering flames, and ‘Midwinter Flame’ which has orange stems tipped with pink.
Next month look out for our blog on paperback maples.