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Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' (Cornus)
'Midwinter Fire' is a very attractive Cornus with unusual orange-yellow and red stems which make a stunning feature in winter. The leave start green and turn to yellows and oranges in autumn, eventually falling as late as November.
Cornus sanguinea is a deciduous native hedgerow shrub. 'Cornus' means 'horn' or 'Antler' in latin and is thought to have been given this name due to the hardness of its wood. Infact the 'Ice Man' discovered on the border between Italy and Austria in 1991 was carrying arrows made of dogwood due to its hardness and durability. 'Sanguinea' means 'blood red' and refers to the colour of the stems.
The prefix 'dog' is often given to species considered to be of little value, and the fruits of Cornus sanguinea are bitter and inedible (although oil from the berries was uses to fuel lamps). Another explanation for the common name for this species comes from one use of its coppiced shoots; they were sharpened and used by farmers as animal prods or 'dags' when herding stock.
Dig a hole one and a half times as deep and twice as wide as the root ball, loosen the soil at the bottom and mix in a general fertiliser and some well rotted organic matter. Place the plant so that the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface, backfill, firm in carefully around the roots and water in well. This will ensure good soil and root contact, and give the plant a good start.
Softwood cuttings can be taken in summer and hardwood cuttings in autumn.
Will grow well in any reasonably fertile, moist but well drained soil in sun or partial shade. It is also chalk tolerant and will thrive in a damp position. Hard annual pruning encourages colourful stems in winter but at the expense of flowering growth.
A reliable and easily grown shrub. Appy an annual dressing of a general fertiliser in spring to help the plant establish in its first few years and to feed the plant after prunning. More mature bushes will benefit from an annual winter mulch of well rotted organic material, which will help keep the soil moist and supply the humus rich conditions that the plant enjoys. It is a reasonably vigorous shrub and can make a large plant if not pruned regulary. To maintain the bushes shape and rejuvenate/replace old, dull stems; cut out all two year old wood to the base and cut down one third of stems each spring (Feb/Mar). This encourages fresh young stems which provide bright colourful shoots in winter.
Cornus are rarely affected by disease, but can suffer from Cornus anthracnose. A fungal infection most prevalent in cool, damp weather. Infections show as spots appearing on leaves in late spring or early summer. As the infection develops patches of dieback may appear and in severe cases the plant may die.
Several moths use the leaves as a larval food plant and the holly blue butterfly will sometimes lay its eggs on the flower buds, as an alternative to holly. Thrushes and blackbirds eat the berries and the pollen provides nectar for insects in the spring.
This deciduous shrub, with a compact habit, can grow up to 3m in height. It has oval, mid-green leaves and produces small, creamy-white flowers in May and June, followed by blue/black berries in autumn. However this cultivar 'Midwinter Fire' is mainly grown for its' brilliant, red tipped, flame-coloured stems that brighten up a winter garden when the leaves, which turn orange-yellow in autumn, fall.
To maintain the bushes shape and rejuvenate and replace old, dull stems; cut out all two year old wood to the base and cut down one third of stems.
Appy an annual dressing of a general fertiliser in spring to help the plant establish.
Apply an annual winter mulch of well rotted organic material to more established shrubs.
Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire'
Dogwood 'Midwinter Fire'
Green, Orange/Yellow in Autumn
Moist Well Drained
H (Fully Hardy) to -15°C