Dogwood (cornus servicea) is an ideal choice to brighten the winter landscape with a splash of red or yellow. Dogwood are hardy, easy to grow shrubs for the northern prairie landscape. Depending on the variety, this shrub bears brilliant stems of red or yellow that contrast well against a wintery white back drop of snow.
Dogwood thrive in a damp location in full sun or part shade, with soil that is high in organic matter. This shrub displays spring blooms that are followed by summer berries which are attractive to birds. Dogwood also feature foliage that can be green or variegated (green and white/cream), but most are grown for their showy stems. Varieties range in height from 18 - 24 inches to larger specimens that if left unchecked may reach 6 - 8 feet tall and wide.
The key to maintaining dogwood is pruning. If left unchecked the stems will eventually lose their brilliant coloration. In late winter, prune one quarter to one third of the thickest stems down to ground level. Being a rather fast growing shrub, it will not be long until new colorful stems take their place.
Here at Assiniboine Park, specimens can be found throughout most of our gardens and along the windows of the Qualico Family Center overlooking the Riley Family Duck Pond.
Varieties of note include: “Bud’s Yellow Twig” and “Red Osier”.