Thursday, July 2, 2015

Evergreen dogwood 'Empress of China'

Last fall Jack and I planted the evergreen dogwood Cornus angustata 'Empress of China'. I was immediately smitten when I saw it at the Dabney Nursery and decided I had the perfect place for it (can't we always think of a "perfect" place when we really want the plant?). I hadn't known there was such a thing as an evergreen dogwood. Another customer told me she had planted one the previous year and it had dropped its leaves in winter. Nevertheless, I was not deterred. I figured the worse that could happen would be that I'd have a nice deciduous Asian dogwood.

But still I was REALLY hoping it  would be evergreen.  We need a tall evergreen plant on that side of the house since both we and the neighbors across the fence removed trees in that area last year. So I was delighted when it made it through the winter and dropped hardly a leaf!

When I bought it, it had a number of knobby little protrusions that I hoped were buds. In fact, they were. If you look closely, hidden amidst the foliage, you can see a few of the blooms that persisted throughout the month of June. The flower show was not spectacular (maybe a total of a dozen blooms), but I was thrilled to see any blooms the very first year. When it matures a bit, the Empress of China is suppose to be one of the most floriferous dogwoods available (see picture included in link at the end of this post). And its shiny, evergreen foliage is really beautiful.
Cornus angustata 'Empress of China'
One other thing I was extremely pleased about was the vigorous growth from this plant. Typically, my new plants adhere to the sleep-creep-leap rule, and it is the third year before I see any significant growth. But this gal really took off, with about 2 feet of new growth so far this first summer! I don't whether to attribute this rapid growth to the species, the health of the plant when I bought it, or just good luck. In any case, the Empress is promising to be a great addition to our garden.

Click on this link more information on the Empress.

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