Commonly known as the Dogwood the Cornus is a group of botanically diverse plants with a lot of year round interest to add to any planting design.

Planted on mass they can be used to give winter and spring interest with their vivid stem colour.

There are two species which are alba and sibirica.

Dogwood are vigorous growing shrubs reaching 4 to 6 foot in high depending on variety. Dogwoods prefer a sunny position in moisture retentive soils.

The second year after planting in February / March prune the dogwoods back hard to about 3 to 4 inches from the ground. This pruning is known as coppicing. It’s done to stimulate new growth as it is the new stems which have the most prolific stem colour. This should be carried out each year after in the spring.

Dogwoods have small umbels of white flowers in May and June. These flowers are followed by black berries in autumn which are used as an important food source for native birds.

The leaves turn a bright red on red stemmed varieties such as sibirica and yellow on green stemmed varieties such as Flaviramea .

Vivid coloured purples stems and bright red contrasting autumn foliage of Cornus alba ‘Kesselringii’

Cornus Annys winter orange with its contrasting orange and red stems against the orange yellow autumn foliage

Autumn Cornus Berries

Vibrant yellowy green stems of Cornus sericea ‘Flavirmea’

Bright red stems of Cornus alba ‘Sibirca’ often used in christmas arrangements of flowers.

Places to visit for autumn and winter inspiration :
• Bodnant winter garden Conwy whales
• Anglesey Abbey winter garden Cambridge
• Hadlow college winter Cornus Garden

Happy autumn

Adam at Alexandra Palace

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