EVER-CHANG­ING GAR­DEN TREE FOR ALL SEA­SONS

Landscape (UK) - - Our Landscape -

Blos­som­ing un­til the long­est day and even be­yond, the kousa dog­wood earns its place in the gar­den all year long. “Flow­er­ing dog­woods look good in ev­ery sea­son, even in win­ter, when ma­ture spec­i­mens re­veal a tiered, cloud-pruned sil­hou­ette,” says Ed Round who tends Newby Hall’s Cor­nus col­lec­tion. Its ed­i­ble fruits de­velop in late sum­mer, giv­ing rise to an­other com­mon name, the Szechuan straw­berry. Vary­ing from red to dark orange or even pink, each fruit mea­sures ap­prox­i­mately 1in (2.5cm) in di­am­e­ter. The flesh within is yel­low­ish, some­times sweet, but often dry, and re­ports sug­gest they are an ac­quired taste. Cu­ri­ously on some cul­ti­vars, the stem elon­gates as the fruit de­vel­ops. Come late au­tumn, some dog­woods pro­duce scin­til­lat­ing au­tumn fo­liage, be­fore tum­bling earth­wards. Cor­nus kousa turns crim­son pur­ple, while its fiery cul­ti­var ‘Fire­works’ ends the year in a blaze of gold and red, and ‘Miss Satomi’ bears pur­ple and deep-red leaves. Once the leaves have fallen, the bark re­ally comes into its own. On young trees, the tree trunk tends to be smooth and uni­form, but with age, it be­comes weath­ered, and flaky plates drop off, re­veal­ing ar­eas be­neath that are sub­tly shaded with grey and cop­per. The leaf­less sil­hou­ette of a kousa dog­wood makes a strik­ing ad­di­tion to the win­ter gar­den, with its bal­anced ar­range­ment of shapely branches, some arch­ing, while oth­ers are hor­i­zon­tally tiered.

Af­ter the flow­er­ing sea­son ends, straw­berry-like fruit bring later colour.

Bob­bled fruits hang from elon­gated stems, and leaves take on flam­ing hues as the year pro­gresses.

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