Cornus (Dogwood)

After all, I don't see why I am always asking for private, individual, selfish miracles when every year there are miracles like white dogwood.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1906-2001, American author and aviator

We offer over forty species and varieties from this genus of mostly deciduous shrubs and small trees. Their gorgeous blossom, leaves, bark, and berries make them a year-round feast for the eyes.

Their name comes from the Latin cornu, meaning horn, because the wood is as hard and dense as animal horn. The origins of the common name, dogwood, are harder to pinpoint. The hard, white wood was once used by butchers to make skewers, and was known as dagwood: to dag meant to pierce or stab, as in “dagger”.

According to legend, the dogwood was once a much bigger tree. Its wood was used to make Christ’s cross, and afterwards he made it smaller and more slender and twisted, so that it could never be employed for this purpose again.

The dogwood’s strong visual impact makes it a perfect specimen tree, and a uniform background of conifers renders it even more spectacular. It’s most at home in partial shade, but can be grown in full sun provided it gets plenty of water and is well mulched during dry periods. It requires minimal maintenance, apart from occasional light pruning to keep it in shape, and grows about 30 centimetres a year, sometimes reaching 15 metres in height.

We particularly specialize in Cornus kousa, a native of Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea. Its very showy blossom – actually consisting of bracts rather than flowers – attracts butterflies, and the edible fruit can be used to make wine. One of our particular favourites is Cornus kousa 'Miss Satomi', which has gorgeous bright pink flowers in summer.

Another is C. florida , the flowering dogwood, similar to C. kousa and with equally stunning white, pink, or red bracts, though these appear about a month earlier.

C. controversa variegata has green leaves with cream-coloured margins. It’s also known as the wedding-cake tree because of its elegantly tiered horizontal branches and flat panicles of white flowers that appear in late summer. It holds the Royal Horticultural Society’s prestigious Award of Garden Merit.
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