Dogwood Winter

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Dogwood Winter

Categories: Blog, Garden Guru

Yes, Dogwood Winter is the term southerners use for springtime periods of cold that often coincides with the bloom of local dogwoods.  This spring dogwoods are blooming at least 2 weeks later than normal here at Powell Gardens but this potential literal event is not unprecedented in nature’s timeline.  I remember being Nashville in April when the dogwoods were in bloom and it SNOWED like crazy.  My introduction to the term “dogwood winter.”

I took this image of a dogwood flower cluster yesterday (May Day) which was a balmy 82F.  Remember the flowers are the actual buds in the center surrounded by the gorgeous bracts.  The bracts of this Missouri wild dogwood in the Rock & Waterfall Garden are not fully expanded and still in the lime-cream-touched with pink stage (the time I think they are particularly exquisite).

This is a picture from yesterday of ‘Cloud 9’ Flowering Dogwood, a cultivar that blooms particularly well in cool springs and one of the best selections for our area.  This picture is from the Perennial Garden, though we have beautiful Cloud 9 Dogwoods west of the gatehouse and on the Dogwood Walk.  Dogwoods can survive cold into the upper 20’s so should be unscathed by our little dogwood winter predicted for this weekend.

Here’s ‘Cherokee Brave’ Dogwood, another one of the better selections for our area.  The flowers age to pink with coral overtones and this one has a soft heliotrope scent as well.  I wish I could have gotten images of the pink dogwoods outside the cafe at lunch today filled with all the colorful birds coming to the feeders!  Orange Baltimore and chestnut Orchard Orioles, red cardinals, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks in rose, black and white; and spiffy American Goldfinches now in bright yellow plumage.  The feeders will be very popular to migrating birds through the weekend.

Powell Gardens is currently a flowering tree paradise!  Here’s redbuds in the Perennial Garden yesterday with the pictured Cloud 9 Dogwood in the distant right.

We have many cultivars of later flowering magnolias in bloom.  Normally a good thing as later varieties are more apt to escape frost!  We’ll see what snow does to these flowers of ‘Rose Marie’ Magnolia which is considered among the finest new selections of Magnolia.  Enjoy these other magnolia flowers taken on May Day at Powell Gardens:

‘Lilliputian’ Saucer Magnolia, one of the finest and aptly named.

‘Randy’ Magnolia, one of the “Little Girl” hybrids with huge spidery flowers.

Here’s a Magnolia you won’t see anywhere else because it is not yet available: ‘Lavender Delight’ is its name.  The camera doesn’t quite capture its creamy yellow inside fused with lavender that gets deeper at the base.

Crabapples are also in flower and this is the spectacular cultivar ‘American Masterpiece’ in the Perennial Garden.

Apples in the Heartland Harvest Garden are also at PEAK bloom.  Nothing could be finer than an apple blossom and its wonderful light aroma.  The flowers are hardy into the upper 20’s as well so we expect no damage from the cold.

Many of our Asian Pears were in bloom on May Day too:  This is a ‘New Century’ Asian Pear with exquisite flowers and soft green contrasting leaves.

These are flowers of the Sloe Plum (Prunus spinosa) in bloom in the Heartland Harvest Garden May Day too.  Where have you heard the term sloe (not slow) before?  Well this plum is native to Germany and you guessed it, its plums are what make sloe gin!

We can’t do anything about the weather and most of these plants should be just fine despite our inordinately late dogwood winter.  The Spring Plant sale will go on as planned so bundle up and join us for some great plants.  I’d much rather spend time shopping in bad weather and enjoy planting my garden when its nice (warmth will return soon).  Stop by the Cafe for lunch Friday – Sunday and you will be amazed at the flowering trees outside and all the birds at the feeders.  The Living Room Display will still be on in the conservatory too.