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Dogwoods Suit Many Seasons and Conditions

This article was first published on 11 Apr 2018.

Cornus amomum

Cornus amomum

Photo by the Otago Daily Times

Dogwoods are amazing plants that span ground covers to suckering shrubs and even up to small trees. They are found throughout the Northern Hemisphere and grow in a wide range of conditions.  In the garden we can use this to our advantage.

Many of us have areas where little else can grow, be it too wet, too dry, dense shade or often a combination of these. As many of the dogwoods come from harsher environments than ours they are adaptable to extreme conditions.

Probably the most versatile group is the shrubby dogwoods, which include Cornus alba and Cornus amomum. Both species are equally at home in dry and wet conditions, with Cornus alba even making a great marginal plant for ponds. As these species are deciduous they have the added benefit of great autumn colour, followed by coloured stems being visible in winter. One part often overlooked is the autumn berries, with Cornus alba having white berries, whereas Cornus amomum has metallic blue berries, as pictured. These berries persist for several weeks but are soon consumed by birds when ripe.

With such a large range and variation in species, time needs to be spent looking at the different types if deciding to plant in your garden. To see a range of species explore Dunedin Botanic Garden from the lower garden up to the geographic borders near the aviary.