A Plant for Winter Interest

When you think of color in the winter garden you may think of evergreens first. You may imagine the dark green needle-like foliage of the pines, whose evergreen branches invoke images of winter scenes with snow covered trees. You may think of the glossy green leaves and the berries of the hollies that birds love to eat for winter time nourishment. But do you think of the bark? The bark can be one of the most interesting colors or textures in the wintertime garden. One of my favorites is the red-twig dogwood (Cornus stolinifera). This deciduous shrub holds its attractive green leaves most of the year, but when the temperates dip this plant sheds all and reveals its flashy red stems. As an added bonus it even has the red berries that dogwoods are known for! Place this plant among evergreens and other berry bearing bushes and you have a recipe for winter color that will brighten up a drab and dreary winter landscape.

A Quick Care Note:
Every couple years the oldest stems should be cut to encourage new growth. If the stems are allowed to age they will lose the plant's signature bright red stem color.

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