Easy to grow dogwoods bring year round beauty

Rob Zimmer
In addition to their winter beauty, spring blooms and summer fruits, dogwoods also provide incredible fall color.

One of the joys of winter in wild Wisconsin is the beauty of native red osier dogwoods as their bright, scarlet stems stand against winter snows. Late in winter, or during mild winter seasons, these beautiful shrubs really begin to brighten to an apple red color as the sap begins to rise in their stems and branches.

These easy to grow, versatile shrubs are one of many varieties of dogwoods that are perfect for a colorful garden or landscape setting throughout the year. Many dogwood varieties are easily available at garden centers and nurseries throughout the state.

Dogwoods are tolerant of a wide variety of soil conditions. Many will grow equally well in standing water and upland settings.

The beauty of these shrubs in winter is unmatched. In addition to the beautiful shades of red provided by the well known red osier, or red twig dogwoods, there are also varieties of yellow or gold twig dogwoods available. Combine the two colors together for a dramatic and breathtaking winter display of color.

Beneficial beauties

Not only are dogwoods beautiful to look at in the garden and landscape, they also provide benefits to wildlife throughout the seasons.

In spring, dogwoods provide masses of lacy white blossoms to feed butterflies, hummingbirds, orioles and other wildlife.

Their dense summer foliage is the perfect shelter for nesting songbirds. Many bird species nest among dogwood shrubs where they are well hidden among the intertwining branches and thick leaves. Gray catbirds, warblers, robins and many others nest among these shrubs.

From mid summer through the fall season, dogwoods provide an abundance of nutritious berries for birds and wildlife.

Native red osier dogwood glows bright red during late winter as the sap begins to rise, a stunning landscape and garden addition.

Red Osier Dogwood

Probably the best known of the dogwoods in our area, this shrub grows in a variety of conditions in the wild, where it forms large stands once established.You'll find them along woodland and prairie edges, ditches and stream beds throughout the state.

Because of their beautiful coloration, red dogwoods have been hybridized and bred into a wide variety of garden selections. There are dwarf varieties that may grow just 1 to 2 feet in height, as well as hybrids that are columnar in form, as well as tree form, or single stem, and weeping.

There are red dogwoods available with variegated foliage in green and white, as well as solid green.

Beauty in all four seasons, yellow twig dogwood gleams bright gold against the crisp blue winter sky.

Yellow Twig Dogwood

In bright gold, the winter beauty of yellow twig dogwood against the clear blue sky is breathtaking.

Like red dogwood, the popularity and beauty of this shrub has led to the hybridization of several growth forms, shapes and sizes, offering gardeners and landscapers many excellent choices.

Pagoda Dogwood

A dogwood variety for shady locations in the yard and garden, pagoda dogwood is a beautiful native shrub that features layered or pagoda like growth.

The horizontal growth form of each layer creates a spectacular effect in the garden as the shrub continues to grow.

Golden Shadows is an exceptional variety of pagoda dogwood that offers breathtaking foliage in variegated green and yellow.

Chinese Dogwood

Chinese dogwood varieties add even more ornamental beauty to the yard and garden. These dogwoods often showcase giant blooms that may be white or pink in color and provide a breath taking display in late spring and early summer.

Find Rob Zimmer online at www.robzimmeroutdoors.com. On Facebook at www.facebook.com/RobZimmerOutdoors.