SOMETIMES HAVING EXPERT FRIENDS just makes your head spin, instead of adding clarity or bringing resolution. That’s certainly been the case this season on the topic of my weeping Kousa dogwood, which everybody has a strong point of view about…but nobody agrees. Does it stay, or go? Can you help us?
I have a number of Kousa dogwoods, or Cornus kousa, a species native to Japan, China and Korea that’s been in cultivation since Victorian times. I’m sure you know it; besides later, larger flowers than our native C. florida, it has larger fruit and good fall color (so does the American). The Kousa’s bark gets handsome as it matures, peeling in the nicest camouflage pattern, and the tree seems virtually disease-resistant, especially compared to the American with its susceptiblity to anthracnose fungus. But I digress from the beauty-contest at hand.
Here’s the thing: I’ve never liked the plant, named C.k. ‘Lustgarten Weeping,’ which I’ve grown from a tiny grafted creature of mere twig-like proportion I bought from Dan Hinkley maybe a decade ago, to its current 9-foot spread and 5-foot height. Every year I mean to toss it out. Really.
This spring, expert friends pointed at it and said, “When will you get rid of that thing?” and so I called a nurseryman friend to come and take it as a gift, to sell to someone else perhaps. He was busy, and delayed.
Last weekend other expert friends were having supper in the yard and pointed at it and said, “Gosh, when did that get put in? It’s beautiful.”
A quick call to the nurseryman friend averted disaster, or did it? And now that this has come up as a bigger decision than just “Come take it away,” I’ve done some reading and recalled that ‘Lustgarten Weeping’ was selected by the late Jim Cross of Environmentals Nursery on Long Island, someone I knew and admired. I think that’s why I ordered it in the first place, thinking of Jim.
So now I really am in a mess. What do we all think of weeping kousas (or weeping trees in general)? Should it stay or should it go? The polls are now open: Dial (#@$) %CX-&*XH on your mobile phones or Text %&#…no, wait, wrong competition, so just register your vote by hitting COMMENT.
UPDATE 6/26: The mason has been at it, and the kousa now has a retaining wall on the downhill side of its domain, mostly complete (photo below). More to come…but progress. I am feeling optimistic about having it with me for a good long time, I think. Agreed?