Sunday, April 20, 2014

Corneliancherries

Easter Sunday was brightly sunny and still, with temperatures in the low 60s. Very nice.

The corneliancherry (Cornus mas) trees are blooming, but like everything else this cold spring, the sub-freezing nights have taken a toll and the yellow flowers are a little browned and reluctant to open fully.

Seen from afar they look okay, but the bright haze of yellow is a little sparse. Cornus mas does not flower as vibrantly as forsythia, but their delicate flowering should not be quite so skimpy.

Nevertheless, I am happy to see the two corneliancherries in my garden in bloom.

Both are young. The one in back by the pines was planted in spring 2011 -- a 15 gallon container plant.

I debated about removing the angled stem but I think I'll leave it for another year to see if it starts to form a graceful multi-stemmed shape. If it just looks awkward I can still cut it off. It's harder, though, to put lopped branches back on.

The other corneliancherry was planted in 2010. It was a foot high bundle of just a few twigs when planted, then promptly got decapitated in the winter of 2011. Snow broke the leader, leaving the pencil thin twig just dangling.

I taped it back together, clipped it with a bag holder clip and hoped it would recover.

Look at it now. Despite its drastic setback, it is the same size now as the 15 gallon one that I planted a year later, and blooming nicely.

It has an odd v shaped crotch. I'm not sure if that is from the bandaged leader failing, or if it would have grown this way in any event. It was sold as a variegated dogwood, 'Aurea Variegata', with gold edged leaves, but all its leaves are regular green.

It got very tippy last year and is now staked to hold it firm. Perhaps the rapid upper growth was too much for the roots. Cornus mas is supposed to be a slow grower, but after its decapitation at a young age, this one has really taken off in the three years since.

Both are still awkward, young trees, but this is the first spring I've seen what the haze of yellow blooms can do in the chilly spring landscape. With maturity and warmer springs, they should be awesome.

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