Monthly Archives: April 2008

Legend of the Dogwood

Legend Of The Dogwood

There is a Christian legend that claims the cross used to crucify Jesus was constructed of dogwood.

Before Jeasus’ death, the dogwood tree was one of the largest trees in Jerusalem. It grew tall and straight and strong. Legend has it that the tree was used to build the crucifix. It greatly distressed the tall, proud tree to be used for such cruel purpose.

After the crucifixion, Jesus took pity on the sad tree and transformed it to the shortened tree with gnarly branches we recognize today. His promise to the dogwood was that it would never again be used to construct a crucifix. The flowers of the dogwood remind us of this story, with the four white petals, in the form of a cross, each bearing a rusty indentation of nail used on Jesus. The stamens in the center of the represents Jesus’ crown of thorns. The clustered red fruit are representative of his blood.Pink Dogwood in my front yard.

Flowering dogwood
The dogwood is a native and the state tree of Missouri. The hardy little tree is known as an understory tree*. The dogwood thrives under large shade trees. These small trees are often a good size plant to use in home landscapes where space and light are limited.

Missouri’s state tree is a stand-out in early spring with large, showy, petal-like, bracts. They are hardy winter survivors when selected and planted correctly.The fall foliage is red, providing multiple seasons of beauty.

Flowering dogwood is shade tolerant, and although found naturally south of Missouri River, it can be grown statewide.

This sturdy little tree is adaptable to various soil types and is tolerant of drought. A hardy small tree without major disease problems, they are a good choice for homeowners. Flowering Dogwoods may be white, or pink or red.


Understory Trees*

The understory is the group of small trees, shrubs and vines that grow under the tallest forest trees. These plants can grow in the shade of the tall trees, staying short, even if they years old.

April, April, finally April

April, April, finally April!

National Poetry Month calls for a poem:

The roofs are shining from the rain, The sparrows twitter as they fly, And with a windy April grace The little clouds go by. Yet the back yards are bare and brown With only one unchanging tree– I could not be so sure of Spring Save that it sings in me.
by Sara Teasdale


My yard if full of daffodils! They appear randomly throughout the yard, testament to where there were gardens at one time on this old plantation estate. I’m relocating many of them to a newly designed area I call the sun garden. Some of these hardy hangers on look like antique or heritage varieties and some of the daffodils are the larger multicolored varieties.

If your flowers are blooming, it’s too late to add fertilizer. The best time to apply fertilizer to spring-flowering bulbs is when foliage emerges in the spring, not when they are flowering. Roots are most active when the foliage emerges from the soil.

Bulb roots actually begin to die at flowering, so fertilizing during bloom is a waste of fertilizer. An all-purpose fertilizer application when the plant begins to poke through the ground will provide nutrients for the bulbs to produce flowers next year. If your soil has plenty of phosphorus and potassium, and it probably does, fertilize with blood meal. This natural fertilizer promotes green leafy growth and is a fast acting source of nitrogen.

Deadhead the daffodils if you want, but leave the foliage until it dies back naturally. Energy from the foliage is transferred to the bulb, creating next year’s blooms. Leaving the foliage is the best investment you can make for next springs’ blooms.

The tulip foliage is emerging. Next, we will have tulips and then iris to enjoy.

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