Cornus (Dogwood) – Popular Shrubs for the Garden
For some reason the dogwoods are not very common in gardens in this country, yet they are attractive shrubs, not difficult to grow. Some are grown for their, others for their coloured bark, and some for a combination of their flowers and richly coloured autumn leaves.
Seen most often is Cornus mas, the Cornelian Cherry, with its small yellow flowers in February and March that are sometimes followed by bright red berries.
There are more spectacular dogwoods, such as Cornus kousa chinensis, a shrub in which the individual flowers are tiny, but surrounded by large white bracts. In autumn the leaves turn a good crimson. Some peat or leaf-mould dug into thehelps this shrub, which otherwise, like most of its relations, does not require special soil.
Among those grown for the beauty of their bark, especially in winter when they are leafless, are Cornus alba sibirica, with bright red shoots, Cornus stolonifera, dark dull red shoots, and its variety flaviramea, with yellow bark.
Cornus alba also has some varieties with attractively variegated leaves. The kinds grown for their bark need cutting back hard each spring, practically to ground level and plenty of new shoots 4-5 feet long will appear afterwards to provide winter colour.