Dogwood (Cornus alba)

There are several varieties of dogwood dotted along the Connswater Community Greenway all with similar growing and seasonal habits. The plant shows off with a white cluster of flowers in late spring, followed by blue or white berries after summer. The leaves then redden in the autumn before revealing the glorious red stems. It is these red stems that give dogwood its popularity as an ornamental shrub and an extensive use for landscaping. This plant is used commonly in gardens, planted in colourful mass along roadside edge or as an informal hedge. If planted near water as a waterside barrier its colour is doubled to great effect.

Photo Credit: Karen Oliver, Ropeworks Bridge

This colourful bark is used to accent and provide a splash of colour throughout autumn and winter, when the Dogwoods colourful leafless stems shine and stand out best. They look best planted within evergreen plants, in front of a dark background. It is also this character that attracts florists for their displays and basket weavers who use Dogwood to add some colour and detail to a weave. 

The wood of this shrub is extremely hardy and in the past has been used for arrows, skewers and pipes. It was also thought that because of its density, the wood produced the best gunpowder. Butchers made use of the straight twigs as skewers. Skewers used to be called ‘dags’ or ‘dogs’, so the name means ‘skewer wood’.

Where to find it?

Dogwoods are tough plants tolerant of a range of soil types particularly damp soils in full or partial sun. Being native to Siberia and China the plants are particularly hardy so well suited to our current weather. Along the Greenway it is planted within the river areas around the Connswater Shopping Centre. You can also see it in Victoria Park and Orangefield Park.

Be Part of it…

We’re sure you won’t be able to pass these plants again without noticing them! Dogwoods particularly stand out in the frost and as we seem blessed with many cold mornings we would love to see your pictures.  When you do pass them why not consider their interesting fact and take a moment to look closer at the stems, which are red in the sun and green in the shade.