before forsythia, cornus mas

cornus-mas-blossom-09.jpgI N A WEEK OR SO I’LL ENJOY THE BORROWED VIEW of several giant old forsythia, left behind from a long-gone farmhouse that stood just down the road. I love seeing them through the naked woods, giant waterfalls of gold, but I don’t grow forsythia in the garden here, as you may recall. I’m not starved for early shrub color, though; I’ve already been treated to a week of Cornus mas, the Cornelian cherry, whose most delightful puffs of gold are like pom-poms. Thanks, Cornus mas, the earliest of my various forsythia alternatives. Read about it and other possibilities (or just see a few more photos on the jump here):

Click the first thumbnail to begin the slides, then toggle from one to the next via the arrows beside the captions.

    1. margaret says:

      Welcome, Blossom, and yes, the one in the distance with the yellow haze. That’s a fairly young plant, maybe 5 years here, and will get much bigger. Nice to see you here, and hope you come again soon.

  1. linda says:

    Love those Cornelian cherry dogwoods. We have a whole hedge of them – blooming now here too.

    The birds and squirrels are crazy for the fruits.

  2. Ailsa says:

    They say the Cornelian Cherry doesn’t have very interesting fall colour, so my money stays with either the Spicebush or Witchhazel ;c) the latter of which I have in my north-facing front garden. But I do wish I had more property so I could grow them all! Although some say its ok to prune them up into a tree-form so that one can underplant with more variety, I prefer to leave those lower branches that sweep the ground and plant low groundcovers and bulbs underneath (like you Margaret). I find in my older age (49!) I appreciate a calm sweep of tranquility instead of a multitude of colour and texture changes.

  3. langhowellrooffltonc says:

    I need your help about a totally different subject… but forsythia does play a part…Is that ok? Last spring I had wonderful success rooting forsythia! They’ve grown real well.

    I’ve clipped all kinds of things to root this spring – dogwoods, redbuds, crepe myrtles, Japanese maples, plums and more. I’ve soaked them overnight like you wrote about recently. Then I try rooting them in water. They bloom, leaf out and generally look great…for a few days or even a week. Then most just dry up!

    I did try some in rooting soil with nutrients. Those have a short life cycle too.

    I’d appreciate any suggestions! This is maximum springtime and I’d like to get some things rooted.

    Your blog is the best! Many thanks!

  4. Ted says:

    I’m a believer in Cornus mas as well. My is blooming, but only on forced branches inside, probably another 10 days until it blooms outside.

    Have you ever tried Abielophlyum? It’s a forsythia cousin with these advantages: Smaller (4 feet or so), earlier (by 2 weeks), fragrant (like orange blossoms) and white (my preferance). I will say it doesn’t offer a lot in the summer time, but gets a bit of a yellow fall color and is easy to force in the winter.

  5. margaret says:

    Thanks, Ailsa, for the link to help out. I find that many Fine Gardening how-to articles like this are very thorough, and link them them frequently.

    @Ted, Yes, I do know the so-called white forsythia; haven’t grown it here because I have such an emphasis on bird-friendly plants…hollies, viburnums, etc…I guess I never made room. Now you have me thinking. :)

  6. Brian G. says:

    I bought a few Abeliophyllum from Klehm’s last year only this is a pink variety I think called ‘pink star’. They are only 18 inches or so high but they bloomed for me anyway. The stems turned the deepest wine red as the buds ripened which was a pleasant surprise.

  7. Kathy says:

    What a beautiful site! Do you find the shrub produces more fruit if you have more than one variety? I have the variety ‘Golden Glory’; it doesn’t seem to produce much fruit; last fall I purchased another variety to plant near it. Will have to wait to see if it helps.
    Thank you for a wonderful site; it was a joy to discover!

    1. margaret says:

      Welcome, Kathy. Overlapping bloom of more than one tree within I think 50 feet will help it along, yes. Here there are so many crabapples and also apples (the two can pollinate each other if they coincide in bloom time) I don’t think about it, but definitely adding another tree is a good idea. See you soon again…hopefully with news that your tree is forming small fruits. :)

  8. Terryk says:

    I love cornus mas! I discovered it several years ago growing along the highway and this year am adding it to my garden. I have a one coming from Whitman farms along with Daphne mezereum.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Terryk. Two great shrubs; good for you. I am calling Whitman in the morning to see what all is available. Always love to try a new source. Nice to “meet” you and don’t be a stranger.

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