Until recently I hadn’t seen the freaky eyeball berries of the Red Osier Dogwood even though I’d planted the shrub in our garden several years ago.
There are several reasons why I’d planted Cornus sericea in our garden:
- It’s native to Canada & flourishes around BC, so I figured it would survive well & be low maintenance.
The flowers attract local pollinators.
- The berries are a food source for many songbirds.
- The dense vegetation provides wildlife shelter.
- Red Osier Dogwood provides garden interest through all 4 seasons:
Flat-topped, white clumps of small flowers emerge in spring.
- Those flowers morph into panicles of white berries in summer & persist well into winter.
- The green leaves have the distinct parallel veins that make the shrub noticeable from other background shrubs in summer, but it’s the reds of fall foliage that’s even more eye-catching.
- Red Osier Dogwood’s ornamental fame is based on the vibrant red bark of young stems – so decorative in winter when deciduous shrubs are bare & the world seems grey.
This is all true.
But there were 2 attributes I soon discovered for myself.
Red Osier Dogwoods survive drier sites but prefer lakesides & wet ditches. It’s happier with more moisture than our garden gets through long, dry summers.
Deer enjoy the foliage & the flowers. Unfortunately, they’re too greedy to ever let the specimen in our garden prosper – much less ever go into berry.
I finally gave up & dug out the struggling shrub.
Now I enjoy sightings of Red Osier Dogwood in the wild – where the deer population is not as condensed.
At this time of year, when I’m out hiking, the freaky eyeball berries remind me the spooky season is upon us & trick-or-treaters will be coming to our door.
Another dogwood that I admire:
– – a groundcover,
rather than a shrub