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Garden with a Winner!™

Cornus alba ‘Aurea’

As with a great many plants the common names vary from province to province and in some cases city to city. This beautiful specimen has names that include but are not limited to: Golden Dogwood, Golden Prairie Fire Dogwood, Tatarian Dogwood. Whatever name that you chose, this shrub is a delightful addition to almost any garden. Boasting hardiness resilience that would make most Canadian proud, it will survive without fail in zones as cold as Zone 2. What’s not to like about this hardy performer? Her foliage is a lemon yellow from early spring through until frost when the leaves turn a nice burgundy hue. The spectacular contrast between the bight foliage and the rich, alluring crimson stems places this contestant front and center of the garden. Under reasonable conditions this shrub will reach 2m (6 ft) easily within one season with a girth of proportionate size. The reliability and reasonable price for this plant make it an ideal consideration for an informal hedge or boundary windbreak. Understanding that this plant loves to grow, in the landscape place it near the rear of the garden or as a backdrop for less boisterous plants. The variety `Aurea’ can tolerate partial shade as well and as with most lighter hued foliaged plants, there is the potential of sun scorch if planted in direct, hot sun locations. I particularly enjoy the vivid contrast in the winter that this and many of its relatives offer against the snow. The deep crimson stems poke their noses through the white blanket of snow offering respite for the chickadees and various smaller birds who visit the garden all winter long.

Occasionally, gardeners will prune Cornus alba `Aurea’ to the ground which stimulates a great flush of new growth the following spring which is incredibly vivid in colour. Alternatively, one could severely prune a few stems of the shrub thus not destroying the overall silhouette yet encouraging brilliant spring growth. An ideal shrub for the neophyte gardener as this and most of the varieties offered in Canada are extremely resilient and will tolerate less than ideal conditions. A strong contender for the more northern gardens of Canada as well Cornus alba `Aurea’ can manage nicely through the high humidity and heat of southern Ontario.