Tag Archives: dogwood

Dogwoods For Easter Morning

Each year my father lined us up, my sisters and me, in front of the largest of the four dogwoods, each dogwood holding down a corner of our front yard.

In our new white dresses with crinolines underneath, ribboned Easter bonnets, soft cotton gloves, and patent leather shoes we four young girls faced the sunlight, squinted and smiled at the camera.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – October 2012

It is Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) and here are some examples of the variety of foliage in the October garden.

Strongly patterned leaves of Arum Italica are maturing this month in a shady spot under the camellias.

Arum italicum

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge) has been growing in a large pot on the patio since spring and is my first and only Euphorbia success.   It needs to go into the ground soon. Having never reached this point before I am not sure how well it will overwinter.

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) has been expanding its territory recently and has sent up shoots among the Sweet Alyssum, a dainty annual. At this height the lime-green young leaves add nice textural contrast to the tiny white flowers of the Alyssum and they are nicely fragrant.

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) and Lobularia hybrid ‘Snow Princess’ (Sweet Alyssum)

Autumn leaf color has become quite noticeable only in the last five days. The complementary hues found in this leafy pair added a touch of boldness to the garden this week. This particular tree has been an underwhelming performer, but in general, Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) is beautiful in spring and fall.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Gentle mounds of Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) fill part of a border near the back steps. Round-lobed leaves range in color from pale green to a coppery russet pink, accentuated by dark red stems.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine), Salvia splendens (Scarlet Sage)

Purchased on a whim because they were on sale, three new trees were added this month in front of a south-facing portion of privacy fence. Online resources describe Juniperus scopulorum ‘Wichita Blue’ (Juniper) as having a pyramidal form; however, these seemed very narrow at the store, which is what I liked about them. Also, the plant tags appear to have understated the final height and width, and oops, it may not tolerate heat and humidity very well.  I believe I could find a lesson in all this—instead I planted them anyway.

At least the foliage has an interesting texture and is soft, not bristly nor prickly.

Juniperus scopulorum ‘Wichita Blue’ (Juniper)

Thanks to Christina of Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides for hosting Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) each month.

Signs of Native Spring

Spring arrived quickly this year bringing with it early flowering to non-natives, such as the December arrival of Iberis sempervirens in the meditation circle. On the other hand the natives in the garden seemed to hold back and take their time.  They are opening approximately the same time as they have the last few years.

One such native is Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine), which has just started blooming this week.

Also native, Tradescantia (Spiderwort) slowly has begun to show color around the garden. It seems to be a week early, based on garden records from past years, but it really has not put on its full display yet. Not all of the many plants are blooming. Spiderwort spreads easily and has drifted throughout the garden, often shifting colors as it moves around. Some years I do not mind, but this year I have already been yanking it up.

The Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebell) is native, but new to this garden. Judging from online resources its current blooming seems reasonable.

The Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) is another native showing restraint. This tree, flowering about the same time as last year, will probably peak in another week.

Phlox subulata (Creeping Phlox) appears to be blooming at least a week early in this garden, but then last year it scarcely bloomed at all. It is especially vigorous this year. This cultivar is ‘Emerald Cushion Blue.’

Garden Gallery

With daytime temperatures in the seventies, the November garden holds surprising interest.

Flowering Dogwood

Cornus florida

A Flowering Dogwood in the back corner of the garden is a vision today.

A 2001 membership gift from the National Arbor Day Foundation, this tree in the past has had but a few flowers each year. This is the year when it has reached a milestone and is really covered in blooms. The extra rains in the area this spring probably encouraged the dogwood this year to look its best.

With all the rains the meditation circle is being delayed considerably away from my initial idealized time-frame of “just a few days.”

Today I planted two Wintergreen Boxwood (Buxus microphylla var. koreana ‘Wintergreen’) in pots for now.  They will provide some interest near the front entrance for a year or so and eventually can be transplanted into the garden.


Also added a handful of magenta-colored dianthus, labelled annuals, near a path in the back border, near the foxgloves. Discovered a Sweet William in the same area that had gone unnoticed before today.

The fence installers are supposed to come tomorrow and I had to dig up a gorgeous mound of Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft) that unfortunately happened to be in the way of a future gate.  I have moved around a few small pieces before but never such a large patch.  It looked very stressed in the hot afternoon sun and have been told it does not transplant well.

Transplanted Candytuft

Progress On The Meditation Garden Circle

Amazing progress. Rains were expected starting with occasional showers this morning, but they never arrived. We need the rain desperately, but its delay gave me time to complete the excavation stage of the meditation circle in the garden. For the most part I stopped counting the hours spent on the job this week, but I clocked 5 hours today. Now after four days, the digging is done.

The grass has been turned over within the entire area of the garden circle. Left behind are clumps that must now be chopped up and smoothed, but the work seems manageable now.

Meanwhile the garden is changing daily and chores are accumulating.  Some plants need to be divided and those daylilies the deer love so much are growing taller and getting tougher, stronger roots with each hour that passes.  As much as I enjoy them, they must go.

The Eastern Red Columbine has a delicate pale green leaf, but the flower itself was today’s attraction as a bit of red is beginning to be revealed.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern Red Columbine)

The spirea continues to be beautiful and full.


The flowering dogwood is going to make a fine display this year.

Flowering Dogwood

End-of-Winter Beginning-of-Spring Inventory

March 20, 2011. Today in this Northern Hemisphere town of Chapel Hill, N.C., the vernal equinox occurs at 6:21 pm.  This seems like a good time to inventory the garden.

The newly planted Blue Point Juniper hedge is doing well, but will not be providing much screening for several years.


The earliest of the daffodils and the burgundy hyacinths are at the end of their bloom cycle. Iberis sempervirens (candytuft) and  Muscari (Grape Hyacinth) are opening slowly. Several sedums are emerging (the rabbits must be pleased).

Tradescantia (Spiderwort) is coming up in various spots and a few echinacea (Purple coneflower) have returned.

The first flower is open today on the White Flowering Dogwood, while ‘Flower Carpet’ Narcissus have been lovely for a week or more.

Coral Delight Camellia

A nice surprise in the garden today.

The spring-blooming camellia ‘Coral Delight’ popped out when I was not looking. I missed checking on it yesterday and today discovered several blossoms had opened wide.

Daylilies attract the deer so I am trying to pull out many of them.  I must hurry to finish the job before they grow any larger or they will be too tough to dig out. Some of the resulting space freed so far was used to transplant a few Shasta daisies.

Hellebore- Lenten Rose

Hellebore (Lenten Rose), which opened one month ago, continue to bloom profusely in their charming manner.

The newly planted Sweet William is doing well and the evergreen HeucheraPenstemon is recovering from the long winter. Digitalis Purpurea ‘Alba’ or ‘Camelot White’ (Foxglove) looks promising.

Small pink yarrow, tansy, lamb’s ears and rose campion (shown here), all rather aggressive growers, are coming back strong.

The old-fashioned spirea is the star in its section of the garden, brightening up the entire space of the western border.  (A pink saucer magnolia behind the spirea is a fortunate example of a borrowed view.)


Nearby the Eastern Redbud competes for attention, deservedly so.


Just one week ago the Jackmanii clematis had new leaves, but was still largely brown. Today it is lush with green.


Several black-eyed Susans echinacea (purple coneflower) seem pleased with their new location along the southern path. They were transplanted last year from an over-crowded spot where they did not have have enough sun.

Russian Sage and Bee Balm

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) is another transplant to this section of the garden; Monarda (Bee Balm) is just starting to emerge in this and several other sections of the garden.

Phlox subulata (Creeping Phlox) has been blooming all over town but started opening only today in this garden.

Creeping Phlox

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox) has been a favorite in this garden, but it has not bloomed well in several years.

Woodland phlox

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern Red Columbine) is quickly unfolding in several spots around the garden.

Eastern red columbine

Salvia (Meadow Sage) has started to form buds.

Meadow Sage

An iceberg rose should have been pruned earlier, but it is now getting its leaves. The deer find it delicious. There are several perky mounds of catmint. Sword-like leaves of these bearded iris seem to grow inches daily. The garden also has German, Japanese and Siberian iris and a couple of Dutch iris.

Catmint, Iceberg Rose and Iris

In some ways the garden appears bare but there are many other plants not even mentioned.  The inventory will have to be continued later.  One last thought for today though.

As I go about renovating this garden, I do recognize that improving the overall design and structure (or “bones) will make the garden more interesting year-round.  I have read that just having a collection of plants does not make a garden.  But at this time of year seeing my particular group of plants develop and mature provides immeasurable delight and satisfaction.  It is like having old friends come to visit.  And it feels like a garden.

White Dogwood

The deep blue sky and sparkling sun make the garden an inviting place to walk today and the dogwood’s buds are eye-catching.  An Arbor Day Foundation tree from 2001, this dogwood first bloomed in 2006, but so far has never been a showy bloomer.

Flowering Dogwood

Cornus florida

Family: Cornaceae
Genus: Cornus
Subgenus: Benthamidia
Species: C. florida
Binomial name
Cornus florida

Flowering Dogwood 1-27-2011

Cornus florida (detail)