Looking like spring is finally arriving here in Minnesota which will bring on a long dormant cornucopia of color. One of my favorite places to visit is the Grace B. Dayton Wildflower Garden at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The delicate woodland spring ephemerals usually steal the show but look up to the understory level that envelopes the garden and you will see a native Minnesota tree, the Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) in bloom. While the flowers are not as showy as it’s southern cousin Cornus florida, the state flower of North Caroline, our dogwood still is a beautiful addition to our woodlands. The white flowers brighten that up the mid layers of a forest in spring become clusters of dark blue berry-like drupes later in the season providing nourishment to at least eleven species of birds according to the USDA and Forest Service.
While you are out enjoying the spring weather look for the Pagoda Dogwood and think about planting one in your landscape to not only to enjoy its beauty but to also provide shelter and food for our local birds.
Enjoy this amazing time of year.
BOTANICAL NAME Cornus alternifolia
COMMON NAME Pogoda Dogwood
DESCRIPTION Minnesota native mall tree with unique horizontal branching. White flowers bloom in spring followed by bluish-black fruit that is attractive to birds. Elliptic medium green leaves (3-5” long) turn reddish-purple in fall.
HEIGHT 20 feet
WIDTH 20 feet
ZONES 4 to 7
EXPOSURE Full Sun to Partial Shade
FLOWER COLOR White
BLOOM SEASON May and June
COMPANION PLANTS Athyrium, Hosta, Astilbe, Adiantum pedatum, Pulmonaria
GROWING AND MAINTENANCE TIPS Well-drained, moist, acidic soil. Prune to accentuate horizontal branching.
NOTES Minnesota native. Bird gardens. Naturalized areas. Woodland gardens