Habitat for Wildlife

Silky Dogwood Berries in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer http://agardenforall.com

Silky Dogwood Berries (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

I’ve been growing native twig dogwoods for decades and they never cease to amaze me.  Though not as showy as the glowing red and yellow twigs, for growth habit and minimal care, there is no better shrub to fill in a large area effortlessly.  Grey twig dogwood, Cornus racemosa, and silky dogwood, Cornus amomum, are native to Eastern North America, where they happily thrive in marshes or wooded areas.  Because they are a suckering type of shrub, they can spread (over a decade) to form a 10′ to 15′ tall and wide mound.  They grow in sun or part shade and tolerate a great range of soils from wet to dry, making them the perfect option for a problem spot. [Read more…]

Meet the Twigs

Cornus alba 'Elegantissima' in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer http://agardenforall.com

Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’ with garden mates (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

If this little twiggy went to market, it would come home with lots of easygoing cornus brethren to make your acquaintance.  Because many are native, twig dogwoods (cornus cvs.) tolerate a variety of conditions, making them extremely versatile for garden plantings. They love moister soils and lots of sun, but will accept dry spells and partial shade without much ado in zones 3-8. During the spring and summer months these gems fill out with lush green or variegated leaves (cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’), in a dense shrub form that melds nicely with any landscape style.  The majority produce white flowers in summer, followed in fall by blue or white berries that are quickly gobbled up by our feathered friends. Although I love my companion twigs for their many cheerful attributes, it’s the vibrant winter’s bark that make me go ‘gaga’.  Only revealed when the cold weather arrives, twigs offer hues we’re longing to see during the brown months of winter.  Bright stems range in a plethora of shades: red (non-native cornus alba), yellow-actually chartreuse-and red (native cornus sericea), and burgundy (native cornus racemosa and amomum), so they provide razzle-dazzle during the dormant months, and carefree style the rest of the year. [Read more…]