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Tails wagging over dogwood

Wednesday, 5th February, 2020 4:42pm

Adding colour to your garden doesn’t just mean you need lots of flowers.

Though beautiful throughout the seasons, red-twig dogwood saves the best for winter when its stems shoot up like fiery flares.

You’ll be in for one unforgettable sight and they are very easy to grow, but a few tricks can help you to get the best from them.

They can tolerate some shade but for the most brilliant red, or yellow depending on the variety, plant in full sun.

This plant spreads by producing suckers. Suckers are vigorous vertical growth coming from the roots or lower main stem of a plant. If you want an expanse of red-twig dogwood go ahead and leave it alone, but if you need to manage the plant remove suckers as soon as possible. Remove suckers by clipping off the entire stem at the base of the plant with clean, sharp pruners.

Because the youngest stems have the brightest colour, you’ve got to regularly prune away the old ones that have faded in order to have that stunning effect. Pruning should be done when the plants are dormant in February and March. Either remove about one-third of the oldest stems each year, or as an alternative to annual pruning, prune all stems close to the ground in early spring every two-three years to renew.

In spring new stems will emerge and will reveal their bright colour in the fall. Follow these three tips and you’ll have that #gardenenvy red-twig look in winter.

Dogwood is a win-win for both landscapers and birds, bees and butterflies. It has nectar-pollen-rich-flowers, has seeds for birds and is a caterpillar food plant.

Another low maintenance shrub with amazing interest at this time of the year is Edgeworthia, named in honour of Michael Pakenham Edgeworth, an Irish-born botanist.

A native to woodlands in the Himalayas and China, this gorgeous plant is closely related to Daphnes. Also known as the paper bush, it gets its name from its bark, which is used in Asia to make high-quality paper. It is most highly prized for its flowers, which appear in clusters on the tips of the bare stems, and open in late winter.

Edgeworthia Chrysantha foliage, when it emerges, is a rich green with large tropical-effect leaves. Once the leaves drop in winter, the young buds are revealed adorning the bare reddish brown decorative bark. The bark has a parchment-like texture and in Asia, it is used to produce superior paper, hence its common name Paper Bush Plant.

The large buds are themselves most attractive, resembling tassels with long fine hairs that are translucent. This is followed by beautiful fragrant creamy yellow flowers appearing in large clusters from January onwards. As with many winter flowering plants, the Edgeworthia Chrysantha winter blooms are heavily scented to provide that extra little incentive to whatever pollinators are brave enough to venture out in the cold winter months.

ePaper Service

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