Welcome to Barbee's Blog!
A Window On My World

This is not a daily blog.
Posts will be published on occasion and irregularly as I am able.
Some of these posts are from my web site The Garden At Crocker Croft.
Barbee's Little Shop Is the sales branch of my blog and web site. divider

Friday, May 02, 2008

Dogwoods: A Love Story

I had heard of Blackberry Winter, but when we moved to Kentucky people spoke also of Black Locust Winter and Dogwood Winter (there may be others I have yet to hear about). Each 'winter' occurs when that plant is in full bloom.

Dogwoods In Morning Fog

The Garden At Crocker Croft has just experienced Dogwood Winter. The dogwood trees have been at their breathtakingly beautiful peak. The horizontal layers of white have been floating. When the breeze stirs them they move gently. Husband/Best Friend/Chief Photographer said the movement reminds him of kelp moving in currents of the sea. Kelp?! To each his own.

The native dogwoods are healthiest when growing in the shade of larger trees. When I see them out in the woods, as we travel along interstate highways, they seem to be floating suspended between large trees and earth. Clouds and clouds of them.

I don't want to think about the disease that is spreading among them and is predicted to wipe out our lovely natives growing wild and in home gardens. I don't want to think about a world without them. I don't want to think about my great-grandchildren never seeing that fascinating, delightful sight, brightening the woodlands.

Not all cultivated dogwood trees bloom white. There are pink varieties of different tints and shades of pink; some are almost red. We have a few pink ones here in the garden.

This spring has been gentle so far. We were due a gentle one, it seems to me. Last spring the cold snap was a doozy. Here are a few photos from that one.

May I serve you a tulip of snow?

Legend of the Dogwood Tree

Jesus was crucified on a cross of dogwood timbers.

God said from that day forever the dogwood trees would never again grow large enough to make timbers that could be used for that purpose. The dogwoods became small trees growing in the understory.

The flower of the dogwood has four petals in the shape of a cross.

At the tip of each petal is a stain where the spike was driven into his hands and feet, and a crown of thorns was pressed into his flesh.

The center of the flower resembles the crown of thorns.

In autumn, bright red, clustered fruit in the center represents the blood of Christ.

The sweet trees bloom in April the same month as Easter Sunday, the celebration of Christ's resurrection after the Crucifixion.

May the legend live forever.

For God so loved the world...


Steve said...

As you know, I am a native of Kentucky. To me, the redbuds and dogwoods of the woods there single Kentucky out as the most beautiful state I have ever lived in or even visited. Those dogwoods at peak season have to be seen to be believed, honestly. If we see how gorgeous Augusta looks during the Masters, and it does indeed, then consider Kentucky during the Derby, which is the image I carry.

tina said...

I like dogwoods but here in my neck of the woods, even in shade, they do poorly. Borers and anthracose have taken their tolls. Now let's add a late freeze and drought. I am switching to kousa dogwoods and slowly culling my cornus floridas. Glad to see them go though they are beautiful at times!

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, I love dogwoods so. And, like you, I can't bear to think of anthracnose wiping them out. I've heard that mowers cutting into the bark is what leaves the trees vulnerable to disease, so planting them in a woodland or in island beds as you've done may be their best hope for survival. I finally found a source for an "unimproved" white-flowering dogwood like the ones I remember from my Nashville childhood and planted it here at Hawk's Haven last year. Long may it thrive! Thanks for the beautiful photos and beautiful legend.

Barbee' said...

Thank you, Steve. I agree. But, read Tina's comment.

Tina: that is so sad. And, Steve, she is in Tennessee, not so far away. They used to make Tennessee beautiful, too. Knoxville has a Dogwood Festival. We just happened to be going through there once years ago, saw the signs, and took time to follow the self-guided auto tour along the Dogwood Trail. Losing the native dogwoods is a tragedy in my opinion. Take lots of photos!

Barbee' said...

Ourfriendben, That reminds me of something I wish I had thought to put in the post.

Dogwood borers: The female lays eggs in cracks and open areas of bark. I was told, therefore, we should not prune them in the spring when the female is looking for places to lays eggs. Since then, I have always pruned in late summer and autumn in hopes it would have time to heal before spring.

tina said...

Thanks for all the info. My dogwoods were here when we bought the house and you would not believe what a sad state the garden was in! Maybe the few I have left will get better. NC has wonderful dogwoods and azaleas and also dogwood festivals.

Cinj said...

I love the legend of the dogwood that you put in your post. What an excellent reminder to us all. I'm sure that they will overcome the tragedy and we will find a way to save them

They are beautiful. I have some in my old garden, but they look nothing like the ones you posted. They have red wood and smaller flowers. Really they look more like a bush than a tree....

Barbee' said...

Hi Cinj, I wonder if yours are one of the Red Twig Dogwoods. Sounds like it. They are pretty, too, but as you say: very different.

Here is a link if readers are interested.
Red Twig Dogwood

Shala said...

Those are beautiful trees and I had never heard the legend of the dogwood. Thank you for this post and the wonderful pictures.

Esther Montgomery said...

I wish I could say something more than that this post is beautiful - and moving - in the photos, the story, and in the warning about the trees - but it is. It is both things in all three parts.


Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

Great pictures. I love the snow on the blooms

Barbee' said...

Shala, I almost did not put in the legend, because I thought everyone already knew about it and it would bore them to see it again. If you, and only you, did not known the legend, I think it is worth it that I included it. Glad you enjoyed it.

I had to laugh when reading your blog and James wrote: Shala did it! (Regarding spraying the nutgrass with chemicals.)That is one mean plant! Cute.

Esther, bless you. You have no idea how much your words mean to me. Thank You.

joey said...

The awesome dogwood bloom is the story that you related beautifully, Barbee.

Barbee' said...

Debbi, aren't they unusual. When it happened it was not amusing, but I did think it was beautiful. I just kept thinking how Beautiful!

Joey, thank you for your sweet words, and for coming over to visit. It means a lot.

To work on it, I had to bold the text because my eyes were bothering me so badly. I will be glad when the doctor says these cataracts are ready to come out. Hope the bold text is not offensive to others.

Melanie said...

Barbee, yesterday I was driving my daughter to town and we checked out every dogwood we passed. We want to buy one for our yard and were looking at the different colors. Now that I've read the story, I can't wait to tell her it.

Kathleen said...

What a wonderful post & pictures Barbee. I miss seeing dogwoods of any color although pink would have to be my favorite. I grew up in Virginia & Maryland where they grew plentifully in the woods so I know exactly the image you wrote about. Since they aren't common here, I hadn't heard about the disease threatening to wipe them out. I hope it doesn't succeed. We are dealing with that same issue just different tree in Colorado. ugh.

Esther Montgomery said...

re. Kathleen's comment:-

Our landscape in England was transformed by Dutch Elm disease.


cindee said...

I always loved the dogwood tree. Thanks for sharing the legend(-:

Carolyn gail said...

Growing up in Alabama the legend of the dogwood was one that our folks used to tell us and that's why when I moved to Chicago I had to plant one in my garden.

I hope that the newer cultivars of dogwood will be more disease-resistant. I see many beautiful blooming dogwoods in Chicago these days.

Kerri said...

I can understand your love for these beautiful trees. We have a very small red one that's looking healthy this spring. We planted a white at the same time, 2 years ago, and replaced it for the 2nd time this spring. I hope this one makes it. I can't wait to see the flowers...but I know I'll have to :)

Barbee' said...

Kerri: What a disappointment, having to replace it two times. Isn't there a gnome or saint or something that could be planted with this one to ensure its healthy life?! ;)