A tall, hybrid ‘Stellar Pink’ dogwood (Cornus ‘Rutgan’) towers above the garden, with only a few branches low enough in this low canopy garden for flowers to be seen. When describing this dogwood to visitors, I habitually refer to it as ‘Stellar’ to limit discussion, since the blooms rarely display any more than a slight blush of pink. Until this year (below), and one year some time ago when apparently weather conditions were ideal to keep flowers from immediately fading to white. Still, I expect the newly opened flowers to fade quickly, even in this very shaded spot in the garden. From what I’ve seen, sun or shade doesn’t matter, in the heat or humidity (or whatever the cause) of this area ‘Stellar Pink’ can hardly be called a pink flowering dogwood.
A (supposed) pink flowered Chinese dogwood (Cornus kousa ‘ Satomi’) does much the same, and I’ve seen it with very pink flowers in Oregon, so it is clear that there’s something in our Virginia spring that causes the faded color. I read that newly introduced, improved Chinese dogwoods will flower pink, but I’m a non-believer until I see one in a Virginia garden.
Of course, ‘Stellar Pink’ and ‘Satomi’ are fine trees, both with a blush of pink, but heavy bloomers, and there’s no complaint except they don’t flower the color they’re supposed to. I wouldn’t think of not having them in the garden. Another hybrid dogwood, ‘Venus’ (below), comes true to form with unusually large white flowers, and once I thought this would take over the dogwood market since folks are often taken in by an ostentatious flower display. But, lack of supply, or possibly the over sized blooms are too large so that it is more difficult to come by than when it was first introduced.