June 22, 2009
The Tree at My Window, A Dogwood
Perhaps you’ve notice the words of Robert Frost in the upper right corner of my blog. While I love all my trees, the three dogwoods are my favorite. In the front yard we inherited a vivid reddish-pink flowering dogwood, pictured above. On the east side of my home, I planted a small white-flowering tree, pictured below.
The newest addition counted as my Mother’s Day present this year and shows off its soft pink blooms right outside the windows of my living room (see the photo below). Silly me, I was only thinking of the backyard layout when I placed it there. As soon as I walked inside, I realized that it would be the most-viewed tree in our landscape, thanks to the positioning of the couches in the living room. I am so pleased that it has become The Tree at My Window.
Unlike my reddish-pink and white dogwoods, which are Cornus florida hybrids, the new light pink dogwood is Cornus rutgersensis 'Stellar Pink.' Plant breeders at Rutger's University developed the C. rutgersensis hybrids by crossing C. florida with C. kousa (Korean dogwood). The resulting plants are highly resistant to the diseases which trouble so many C. florida types.
Besides my 'Stellar Pink' (flowers shown above), the Rutger's hybrids include 'Aurora', 'Celestial', 'Constellation' and 'Ruth Ellen'. All of these other hybrids are white, though the form of their crowns and flowers differs. They bloom later than C. florida and earlier than C. kousa.
Dogwood blossoms last a lot longer than the blooms of crabapples or flowering cherry trees. The leaves are lovely in summer even when the flowers disappear, and their reddish-burgundy fall color is gorgeous. In the photo above you can see that the new growth is touched with red.
Though my C. florida trees don't produce any fruit, you can see little ones developing on 'Stellar Pink'. I was told the birds love them, so they don't last long when ripe.
Above is another shot of my littlest white-flowering dogwood. The old-fashioned dogwoods are bothered by a number of serious diseases in humid, rainy climates. Thankfully we don't have many of those problems in Spokane. The limiting factors for dogwoods here are that they require plenty of moisture for their roots and do best with protection from afternoon sun. Otherwise I would have filled my yard with them. As it is, I'll enjoy the three I have from indoors and out. What a perfect window tree!