Bounty Hunting for Plants with Bling

December 10, 2013

dogwoodWhen it comes to selecting new plants, a great fervor burns in me for color and texture, and for the uncommon species. The vibrancy of bright blooms and variegated foliage is what brings a garden or patio—and one’s emotions—to life.

Unlike commonplace shrubs, nurseries usually stock plants with bling in small quantities making them a quick sellout and the hunt challenging.

This year, during a pursuit I captured a variegated, red twig dogwood (Cornaceae). Spring through summer the leaves are bright green edged in cream. Come fall they turn variegated pink. The leaves have fallen now. This exposes the beautiful, smooth red twigs–a showstopper when the plant is larger.

While in its dormant state, I transplanted the dogwood from the black nursery pot to a larger, clay pot. Then I did a little pruning to keep the dogwood from becoming straggly.

First, I removed a few deadwood, cross or crowded branches. If my dogwood had suckers at the base I would have cut them off, but only if I did not want it to spread like a shrub.


Next, I pruned branches growing beyond the dogwood’s natural shape. The trick is to not over prune. This reduces foliage and possibly the yellowish-white spring flowers.



Last, I went through the trimmings and chose those with a node near one end of the twigs and placed them in the same pot to propagate.


With proper care, my dogwood will bring life to the back patio and evoke garden bling year round.

Here’s the rap sheet on variegated, red twig dogwood.

Zones vary by species


Blooms April

Full Sun/Partial Shade

Max Height:  6-8′

Max Width:  4-6′

Water well in any soil type


One comment

  1. Nice. Love the term garden bling. The red wood dogwood is beautiful.


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: