A Plague of Alliums
White Elegance - Hydrangea arborescens

Dogwood Blooms


Flowers rowIt is common to accept much of what we know without question. Take the dogwood for example. Did you ever wonder how that tree got its name? There is speculation that it is derived from the Old English word 'dag' which is short for dagger. Daggers were supposedly made from the hard wood of the dogwood. When I hear the word 'dogwood' I most often picture the Florida dogwood which is  a lovely and delicate flowering tree but there are over fifty species of dogwoods and they encompass every shape and size from small shrubs to 30 foot spreading trees. Kousa flowerThere is one dogwood which all but the smallest garden should contain and that is the Chinese dogwood, Cornus kousa. Of course that is just my opinion but the Chinese dogwood waits until the spring show is over. It blooms at the beginning of summer with creamy white or pink star like flowers floating on the layered branches. Cornus kousa 2013A Chinese dogwood gives a garden substance, architecture and form. As a youthful maiden is upright and vase shaped, so is the young Chinese dogwood but as it ages it settles and spreads with a determination and maturity akin to a woman in later life. Last year my Chinese dogwood which is about 25 years old, flowered with intensity. Barely a leaf showed. Dogwood 2014This year the flowers are sparser. We did have quite a harsh winter which may have dessicated some of the flower buds. I have to say I am still enjoying the show this year in spite of the lack of abundance. The tree looks more like the night sky to me. In the center is the band of heavy flowers reminding me of the Milky Way while there are pinpricks of white over the rest of the tree. Three flowersI would love to know exactly what mechanism adjusted the bloom this year. It could have been the cold, the wind or the soil fertility which changes over time but Mother Nature has her secrets. I will have to be content with the blooms, such as they are. In my area I have seen dogwoods with a similar bloom pattern this year but then I have seen full ones as well. The mystery remains.