Some of the brightest colors of the winter garden come from the bark of the shrub Salix (willows) and Cornus (dogwoods). As their colorful leaves fall and the days get colder the bark turns dark red or flaming orange and yellow. Maurice has long wanted to do a comparative study of each variety that we have so we headed out into the garden the other day and took eight samples. The bark color is at its peak in December, but we did this February 2 , so the reds especially seem a little faded. Click on the picture below to see a full size version.
While the picture shows the winter color I thought it might be helpful to include a brief description of each variety along with a link to its description on our website.
Cornus alba ‘Aurea’ has gold foliage and makes a great backdrop for other plants to stand out against.
Salix alba ‘Britzensis’ has similar color to ‘Flame’ but tends to be slightly darker. It has small green leaves.
Cornus alba ‘Argenteo-Marginata’ has some of the reddest bark and a clean cream variegation around edge of a green leaf.
Cornus sericea ‘Hedgerows Gold’ is a featured plant along our patio. It has bright yellow and green variegated foliage and makes a great specimen plant.
Salix ‘Flame’ lives up to its name. It has green foliage during the summer and always a hint of its winter color.
Salix integra ‘Hakuro Nishiki’ is grown primarily for its bright pink shoots which open to mottled cream-and-green variegated leaves. The winter color is strictly a bonus.
Cornus sanguineous ‘Midwinter Fire’ has the brightest winter color of any of them. In the summer it is very plain, but when winter rolls around, it is one of the brightest spots in the garden.
Cornus alba ‘Gouschaltii’ is another red barked dogwood that had faded by the time this picture was taken. It has wonderful pink flushed, gold-ringed green foliage and nice fall color. It is truly a great four season plant.