Wake up to one of those first invigorating days with spring in the air. It's March and most plants are still dormant but the advent of warming temperatures makes it seem like something should be blooming. The Japanese Cornel cheerfully obliges with an explosion of sulfur-yellow flowers. The individual flowers are small, but the profusion makes the floral display sensational. The bark is attractive with patches of light brown bark exfoliating to reveal orange colored plates beneath. Japanese Cornel is Dogwood Borer resistant, disease resistant and takes less than ideal soils in a stride...This tree is extremely rare, demonstrating how narrow minded we, as gardeners and landscape professionals can be.
The floral display in late winter/early spring is best accented by an evergreen background so situate this tree accordingly. This will also provide a nice backdrop for the showy bark and structure in the winter. If planted in full sun, the leaves will curl upward partially exposing the lighter colored under surface which, depending on your tastes, can be a plus or minus.The summer leaf curling is interesting, if not exceptionally attractive. If you want the season long freshness of the rich foliage, plant in partial shade. Fall color can be attractive but is usually not overwhelming.
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