|RED OSIER DOGWOOD|
Wednesday, 9:30 AM. 35 degrees F at the ferry dock, 34 on the back porch. Wind NE, gusty and bitter. The sky is overcast and foggy, the sun nowhere to be seen. The humidity is 95%, the barometer 29.91" and rising, with no precipitation predicted until Sunday or Monday.
Late winter, with snow still as a background, is the best time to appreciate the red twigs of the red osier dogwood, Cornus stolonifera (synonym C. serecia) in the Dogwood Family. It also has significant panicles of white, compound flowers, and very decorative white to bluish berries. As its species name implies, it is a spreading shrub, and might be hard to contain in the small landscape, but there are cultivars available that do not spread by stolons. It is native throughout Wisconsin, its habitat being soggy locations such as the borders of wetlands and swamps and roadside ditches, although it will grow in drier situations.
I may be wrong, but I think the twig colors are enhanced by the awakening processes of early spring. In any case, red twigs against white snow are a dramatic precursor to spring.