Designer Plants - February 2018

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Designer Plants - February 2018

05 February 2018


Colour in the garden is not all about the pretty flowers. Foliage can be equally colourful and often just as dramatic.  This is particularly notable each autumn when we are then treated to the usual stunning display of reds, purple and gold. However, at this time of year the garden designer has another trick up his or her sleeve.  Over the winter months many trees and shrubs have brightly coloured or interesting bark that can easily outshine the brightest flowers of June and the Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ is no exception.

The Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ is a deciduous shrub that is in full leaf over the spring and summer months. The large bright green ovals leaves of summer turn yellow in autumn before falling. The ‘Midwinter Fire’ has fairly small and insignificant creamy white flowers followed by small black berries. However, like many similar small flowering Dogwood shrubs, the ‘Midwinter Fire’ is really grown for its brightly coloured stem. For the coldest three of four months of the year, the branches of the ‘Midwinter Fire’ take on, as the name would suggest, a flame like appearance. Each stem has a dual tone effect with a bright yellow at the base that gradually translates into a rich orangey red at the tip. When planted against dark evergreens or framed by the naked cold earth of the season, the Midwinter Fire provides an extremely eye-catching focal point.

Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ is a fairly small shrubs, growing to around 3ft (90cm) across and 5ft (1.5m) high. However, for optimum winter colour it is best to prune the stems back hard each year, to around 3 inches from the base, as the bright colour is only prevalent in the new growth.  The ‘Midwinter Fire’ prefers a sunny spot, but doesn’t like to get too dry. It often looks good planted in groups or with other Cornus shrubs, and looks great planted by water where it will happily drink from the moist soil and reflect beautifully in the still surface.



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