Another dogwood

Sadly, locating the garden’s newest acquisition, the evergreen ‘Empress of China’ dogwood (Cornus elliptica ‘Elsbry’, below), was not difficult. The tree was purchased assuming that it would be shoehorned into some marginally acceptable spot, which is perfectly acceptable practice in this garden. Two Pagoda dogwoods planted earlier in the year were fit perfectly to stand above lower layers of perennials, but in a long established garden the need to add plants is sometimes more difficult.

But, as the garden was scanned for potential planting sites, a small Siebold magnolia that dropped its last leaf prematurely in September was noticed. Closer examination revealed that the magnolia had perished, with checks for live wood down to the roots showing only brown. I was disappointed, but satisfied that this spot would be ideal for the dogwood.

Again, I must mention my dislike for planting tiny trees that I so often murder through lack of attention. Larger trees, potted or dug and burlapped, have proven to be a better investment, and this dogwood grown in a fifteen gallon container should require little care, though at greater initial expense. Also, while this tree is barely chest high, it will show more quickly than the dearly departed Siebold magnolia that I was ecstatic to find a year ago.

The flower and growth of ‘Empress of China’ are similar to Chinese dogwood (Cornus kousa), and this small tree is loaded with flower buds that are likely to cover the evergreen leaves with white blooms in late spring. It is disappointing to lose the magnolia, but this evergreen dogwood is a wonderful addition to the garden.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Linus says:

    Conventional wisdom is that planting smaller trees are better in the long term as the adapt more quickly and grow faster/better than larger potentially root bound trees. I’m with you on planting larger trees; besides the “instant gratification” factor, I seem to have problems with Verticillium wilt (and/or Phytophthora) that smaller trees are more susceptible.

    1. Dave says:

      My personal and professional experience contradicts the conventional wisdom that planting smaller trees is better. I see survival rates increase as the size of the root mass increases, though the results of my personal experience are clouded by a lack of care. Every study of tree growth includes identical maintenance of small and large trees, while my intention is to provide no care after planting.

  2. Barbara Mugaas says:

    Hi Dave, truly enjoy your your emails and I’m learning but I can’t keep all the emails or save them. Is there any way to research your information for specific plants?  Thank you, Barbara
    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    1. Dave says:

      Below the listing of posts there is a search box. I use this frequently when I can’t remember a cultivar name.

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