The dogwood (Cornus florida, below) in the front garden suffers from a variety of maladies, though it does not seem in distress at all. The tree has multiple cankers that swell the stems and cause sucker growth that must be regularly removed, and every year the dogwood’s foliage is plagued by powdery mildew and black spot. But, I’ve noted these issues for a decade without any evidence of the dogwood’s declining health. I suspect that the tree is likely to outlive me, and that there is little reason for concern.
This spring the flowers are disfigured with crumpled edges, though from twenty feet away the problem is not obvious. I suspect that the malformation is likely to be only a consequence of whatever the weather was the day the blooms were opening, and there is no larger problem. A second dogwood in the rear garden flowers without an issue.
Again this year, the variegated dogwood ‘Cherokee Sunset’ (Cornus florida ‘Cherokee Sunset’, above) will not flower. I’ve run out of excuses why this tree struggles to grow, and has failed to flower for ten years, maybe longer. The anthracnose and mildew evident on the dogwood in the front garden are many times worse on ‘Cherokee Sunset’ . The health of the foliage declines quickly as summer approaches, and I suppose that regular application of fungicides would be required to remedy these problems.
Until recent years, I was hardly enamored with the Carolina Silverbell (Halesia carolina, above) that grows along the stream at the forest’s edge in the back garden, just beside the serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis). The tree is planted just around the bend so that it receives less sunlight than the serviceberry, and early on it grew tall and lanky. Today, it is twenty feet tall, and certainly not densely branched, but flowers are abundant enough, and of unsurpassed beauty. I cannot imagine why the silverbell is not more appreciated, for certainly it is the equal of any spring flowering tree.