We finally got some snow yesterday (about an inch or so, I’d guess) and it stuck around long enough to shine in today’s bright sunlight. The whole garden looks like it’s wearing some fancy new outfit, but the redtwig dogwood (Cornus sericea) is definitely the star of the show. Although there are scads of cultivars available for redtwig (aka. red stem) dogwoods, I chose the species for my garden. I’m a bit of a native plant geek, I admit. Whenever possible, I grow the native species of a popular plant (for example, purple cone flower or wild false indigo) because that’s the “variety” that the birds and beneficial bugs will recognize most easily. Also, if the seeds get spread by hungry birds, I can be assured that those seedlings will be the wild type. This usually isn’t a compromise for me; most of our native flowers and shrubs are plenty pretty without hybridizing them into various cultivars. This redtwig dogwood, for example: as you can see, it’s plenty red enough to light up a winter snowfall.
I do grow hybridized natives (and a few non-natives), but I’m always most excited to add another “true” native plant to the garden. I can see that this redtwig dogwood will be one of my new favorites. What are your favorite native plants for the yard or garden?