"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dogwoods and bunchberry.

It's hard to believe these two are related.  They are both members of the cornus family.   
The cornus florida tree or Pink Flowering Dogwood I've read is the most common flowering dogwood planted in the Northwest.  
They've just come into full bloom around here.
We are lucky enough to have a mature one that came with the house.  It has some years that it doesn't have as many blooms, this year it's pretty full of these pretty pink flowers.  I've taken lots of pictures of the girls in front of this tree over the years.
About 2 years ago we planted 'Rubra' in the backyard.  
It'a still pretty small, but this is the most flowers it has ever had.  I've never noticed either tree producing much fruit for the birds.
Now here is cornus canadensis or bunchberry.  I would have to say this is my favorite ground cover.
It is a native plant from Northern California to Alaska.  This is a great ground cover for under trees in shady areas and it likes acidic soil.  They spread by underground runners and can be a bit difficult to get established.  Mine are just now really starting to spread and they've been here for a good 4 years.  Bunchberry should have red fruits later in fall, but I don't think I've noticed any before.  They do die down in the winter.  
When you look closely at the flowers you can see the similarities between the ground cover and the tree, I also think the leaves look a lot alike.
I find it amazing how such different sized plants can be so closely related.  
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  1. All your pictures are so pretty. You saying that you take a lot of pictures of your girls in front of the one tree reminds me of a huge white Dogwood tree that my childhood friend and her sister are photographed in front of each year at their mom and dad's house - 51 years worth!

  2. they do look related! My husband bought me a pink dogwood Saturday.

  3. Hi Catherine, how lucky to have a mature tree, and pink even! We have noticed on and off years with the blooms too, but none of ours are more than twelve years old. We brought the first ones to this house in 1996 as seedlings from one we had at our other TN house at that time. They are slightly pinker than the white natives that are under the pine trees, babies from a pink one, but just barely pink at all. The bunchberry is new to me, it is quite attractive too.

  4. Pink dogwoods are very rare in the South. You can buy them, but mainly white ones grow in the wild. You very rarely ever see a pink one growing in the wild. They are one of my favorite trees

  5. Both are very charming plants, neither of which I can grow here in So. Cal. so it is nice to enjoy them from afar!

  6. Lovely cornus trees.
    I treated myself to a Cornus Kousa Chinensis a few years ago. I saw them with my Dad at RHS Wisley looking amazing in late May/ early June.

    Since I bought mine it has not flowered but fingers crossed one day I hope it will. Having seen the ones we admired at Wisley looking much the worst for wear in the Summer compared with those in their woodland shade, I had got Mike to move ours and it still is looking happy.

  7. Love the bunchberry! My sister posted about it last year on the blog and I so wanted to grab a whole bunch when I went to Maine, but you know how it is-never enough time. I've not seen it down here but hope it would grow. It is beautiful. As are your pink and red dogwoods. Sometimes I too have a hard time finding the red fruits in the fall, you have to really look on some trees-before the birds get them.

  8. I love trees that have blooming flowers..Right now, I am on a hunt to take those blooming tree since they are at their best!

    Beautiful flower trees!

  9. How beautiful is your pink cornus! I have a white one just clinging on to life here in the East Midlands of the UK: it flowers and grows a little each year( it's 15 years old) but is nothing like your stunning tree! Brava!

  10. I love those Bunchberries - I've never seen them before! I don't think we have them in the UK.
    Gorgeous photos:)

  11. Lucky, lucky girl to have that mature dogwood. Another tree to make you buy the house! It's a gorgeous pink color (I think I need it here!)

  12. I love Cornus. We don't get too many round here except the coloured stemmed ones, of which I have yellow and red. The best place I have seen the more 'exotic' trees is an arboretum called Thorp Perrow, in North Yorkshire, where they look so romantic and stunning. (If I get the chance to go I'll get some photos - even more incentive now the blogosphere is here!!)

  13. Mildred - That's really amazing that your friend has 51 years worth of pictures in front of the same tree! I wonder if we'll live here that long?

    Darla - That was sure nice of him! I remember yours bloomed awhile ago.

    Frances - I don't think I've seen seedlings of them, but I did notice as I was driving today seeing white dogwoods growing along the side of the road where no houses or landscaping is. That's will be fun to watch the seedlings you planted grow into large trees.

    Dirt Princess - They really are so pretty. They are really popular here, but they do get droopy when it gets hot.

    Sheila - It must be too hot for them there. They both like to have shade. Our front one gets too much sun since a large pine was cut down, it must be established enough to tolerate the heat now.

    Joanne - The kousa are very pretty, my Mom has one. If it's like our little one it takes awhile to bloom. I hope you see some this year.

    Tina - I bet it would grow in your woodland area. I'm going to look for your sister's post, maybe you'll be able to get some from her next time.

    Icy BC - Thanks! I also love the blooming trees! I love spring when there are so many in bloom.

    My English Country Garden - I'm glad you are getting flowers from it! We are very lucky that this large tree was here when we moved in. They seem to be slow growers.

    Nutty Gnome - They really are pretty, they almost glow. They are supposed to be common in the woods here, but I've never seen them there.

    Kathleen - Very true. It came into bloom right after we moved in. I really hadn't paid attention to the type of tree it was when we first looked at the house.

    Phoenix - Are those the red and yellow twig dogwoods? They really are pretty. I wish I had room for the redtwigs. I'd love to see pictures if you go to the arboretum.

  14. I agree, that tree was another good reason to buy your house. They are so beautiful. I can see the resemblence to it and the flower too. I painted a pink dogwood bloom on our book for garden club one year. Such as it was! LOL

  15. Love the pink dogwood. Happy gardening... Becca

  16. Sometimes I fell like moving back northward just for the dogwoods.

  17. How pretty....I have not seen either of these up close. Gorgeous photos!!

  18. Those pink dogwood are beautiful! I've never seen that ground cover before. I like the little flower.

  19. We planted a pink dogwood for Earth Day. I love them!

  20. Your family is so fortunate to have such a lovely backdrop for pictures, and not just the tree! I had a pretty dogwood in the yard growing up and for a couple weeks every spring there were people in our yard we did not know. Taking pictures.

  21. Catherine, Despite my extremely limited knowledge of botany, I read somewhere that taxonomists classify plant genera by the reproductive parts--meaning the flowers. It's equally baffling to see two plants that have a very similar look be of completely different genera.

    Ah, so much to learn. Love your pink Dogwoods. They're all abloom here too. I need a bumper sticker that reads, "I brake for blossoms." :)

  22. Linda - I bet the bunchberry would grow for you, it would probably love being under your trees. I bet your dogwood bloom was really pretty!

    Becca - Thanks! I love looking out at it too.

    Prospero - I'd love to be able to grow some of the things you can grow there. We'll just have to look at each other's pictures.

    The Retired One - Thanks, I sometimes forget to look at the individual flowers when I look at the tree. The color of flowers really varies even on the same tree.

    Susie - Isn't it a cute little flower? Some get a bit larger and a little more white too.

    Ginger - What a great tree for Earth Day. You'll love looking at it every spring in bloom.

    Heather - That's funny, people are really attracted to certain plants and trees aren't they? I don't think I'd be brave enough to go into someone's yard for pictures.

  23. Grace - That is interesting. I know when I see that plants are in the same family that look nothing alike, I wonder what they had in common.
    I think you'd sell lots of those bumper stickers. I find that I'm really looking around right now too as I drive seeing so much come into bloom.

  24. Hi Catherine, I love the legend of the dogwoods so I planted 5 in my yard! Two are kousas, which bloom later in July-Aug. I've never heard of bunchberry and they DO look like the tree flowers! Have a great day!

  25. The dogwood tree blossoms are just striking and beautiful. None are yet blooming here around where I live but will be out soon. Maybe this week.

  26. I love both the pink and white dogwoods. Bunchberry looks like a wonderful groundcover.

  27. Lynn - You are lucky to have 5! I love the kousas too.

    Abe - Thanks! Well you must be catching up to us with your blooms. I bet you are happy about that!

    sweet bay - The white ones are very pretty, I've just noticed some in the school yard right behind us.

  28. I grew up in Missouri where the dogwood trees graced the woods every spring. When I moved to Maine, I was homesick for the dogwoods -- until I discovered the spring ground cover under our pines: beautiful, spreading bunchberries. The flowers are tiny replicas of the tree's flower. Thanks for sharing these lovely photos!

  29. June - You are the second person to mention Maine and bunchberries. I had no idea they grew there. They really are sweet little flowers.

  30. Simply stunning garden and pictures

    Linzi x x


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