Few plants celebrate the different seasons more than colourful cornus. Commonly called dogwoods, these reliable and hardy shrubs provide a luscious leafy backdrop to summer flowers. As a final fanfare their foliage is transformed into a rainbow of colours through autumn before fluttering away to reveal brilliant wand-like stems.
During winter the brightly coloured stems of dogwoods catch sunlight to create dazzling displays. Small gardens might only have space for a single plant, so position it where the low piercing winter sunlight will shine through, catching stems in its spotlight.
Choose carefully and your garden displays really will become a celebration of colourful cornus.
POPULAR DOGWOOD VARIETIES FOR THE GARDEN
For summer foliage and winter stems
Cornus alba varieties – such as ‘Elegantissima’, ‘Aurea’, ‘Spaethii’, and Siberian dogwood ‘Sibirica’
Cornus sericea varieties – such as Golden-twig dogwood ‘Flaviramea’ and dwarf Kelsey’s Gold
Cornus sanguinea varieties – such as ‘Midwinter Fire’ and ‘Winter Beauty’
Small trees with attractive flowers and foliage
Cornus controversa ‘Variegata’ (AGM)
Cornus kousa varieties like ‘Miss Satomi’ (AGM)
For winter flowers
Cornus mas – dainty yellow flowers in winter, red fruits in late summer
Houseplant of the month - Rhipsalis
An unusual houseplant, Rhipsalis is actually a cactus, but without the spikes. Also known as a mistletoe cactus, this houseplant is a fast grower that hangs down in long messy tendrils or grows upwards in a bushy formand is virtually maintenance-free. Rhipsalis copes pretty well with forgetful waterers, does not give up and is a richly branched beauty under ideal conditions.
Sales and display tips for Rhipsalis
Display different varieties of Rhipsalis together and emphasise the jungle feeling of this green spectacle. The hanging plants will appeal to the imagination more if they are hung off a tree trunk or a sturdy branch, and the plant varieties will look nice amongst some decorative wood and attractive stones. Select pots with a robust and natural appearance: ceramic with a bark pattern, wood or a dish with natural shades.
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Thanks to Adam Pasco and the Flower Council of Holland for the information contained in this article.