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April 27, 2010

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Ray Larson

HI Val,
The “Stellar” crosses were first developed at Rutgers University using C. kousa and C. florida. They have names like ‘Constellation’, ‘Aurora’ and ‘Stellar Pink’. They are sometimes listed as C. x rutgersensis. They are generally more vigorous and disease resistant than C. florida, and were intended as a substitute for that native east coast tree, which was really hit hard by anthracnose a few decades ago. The crosses I referred to above, between C. kousa and C. nutallii, are newer and are just becoming widely available in the last year or two. The most common is probably ‘Venus’ but ‘Starlight’ is also another one. Most larger nurseries probably have a few here and there in bigger sizes. ForestFarm also has small sizes available via mail order. They have large flowers, a bit gaudier than C. nutallii or C. kousa, but still seem less “unnatural” to me than ‘Eddie’s White Wonder’  Interestingly, ‘Eddie’s White Wonder’ seems to get a fairly strong love/hate reaction for people. I know many people in both camps! A hybrid developed in Canada, it is planted ALL OVER Vancouver.
Ray

Deborah Anderson

What a great blog...definitely on my Favorites list.
Deborah

Matti

I just came across your book from North Coast Gardening blog. Looks fantastic...I will check it out. Great pics of the dogwood. Matti

valerie Easton

Hi Ray,
I love Cornus kousa too, but have to admit I like the showiness of 'Eddie's White Wonder'. The "Stellar" crosses are new to me - their parentage sounds ideal..are they generally available yet? Have you seen them in nurseries?
Val

Ray Larson

Hi Val,
You are right--the dogwoods at REI are 'Eddie's White Wonder'. I remember seeing the plant list when that garden was planted. But I have to disagree with you on the merits of that particular tree. I love dogwoods but really dislike 'Eddie's White Wonder' as the blooms look so artificial to me--the roundish blooms seem more like warped dinner plates than dogwood blooms, as they lack the pointed tips to the bracts. They bloom fairly heavily, but all of the round blobs make it look so unnatural, and not much like a dogwood at all. Plus they are becoming totally overplanted. Landscape architects in particular seem to love it for some reason. And it has always struck me as odd that a cross between C. nutallii and C. florida, two species that are very prone to anthracnose, would really produce a resistant cross. I wonder if it just because it is more vigorous grower (as a hybrid) and there aren't that many older trees. Anyway, I have nothing against hybrids in general, but there is something about 'Eddie's White Wonder' that drives me crazy. Just about any other dogwood is more appealing to me personally, and Cornus kousas are so delightfully variable from seed. UBC Botanic Garden in Vancouver has a great collection of mature trees grown from seed in their Asian woodland, and it really shows their remarkable variety in bloom size and quantity. I'm also interested in seeing how the "Stellar" crosses perform--they have just come on the market--these are crosses between C. nutallii and C. kousa, and are supposed to have better disease resistance than C. nutallii and large, but more naturally shaped, blooms. Anyway, there are still loads of great C. nuttalli in the north end of Seattle and most still bloom great even if they are declining. I think if folks manage to keep them happy (not stressed) in general, in many cases they are vigorous enough to live happily for quite a while.

shary van

Thanks for the suggestions to replace our Dogwood, which is diseased. We have two Dogwoods (50 ft tall native and a large pink dogwood). I think it's the Cornus nuttallii. Interesting that both Dogwoods bloomed this year at the same time. They have never been on the same clock and would bloom about a month apart; first time in over 10 years. Shary

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New Book: Petal & Twig

  • Petal & Twig Made The New York Times!
    From Anne Raver's review: "Valerie Easton, a Seattle-based garden writer, discusses the art of growing and arranging cut flowers in “Petal and Twig: Seasonal Bouquets With Blossoms, Branches and Grasses From Your Garden” (Sasquatch Books; $16.95). Written as an informal diary, with photographs of arrangements from her own garden, and tips on cutting and keeping flowers fresh, the book inspires ideas not only on what to grow but on how to combine (or not) those beauties inside. See review here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/29/garden/new-books-on-growing-and-arranging-flowers.html?scp=1&sq=petal%20&%20twig%20anne%20raver&st=cse
  • The first reviews on the new book are in! From Publisher's Weekly:
  • "Open your eyes and keep it simple: those are two lessons Easton passes on from her own 40 years in the garden. When selecting and arranging flowers for bouquets, you needn’t spend a bundle buying a bundle of imported flowers.....The result will be unique, local, imaginative, and inexpensive. Color photos throughout illustrate and inspire."

In the News

  • Montreal Blogger Reviews "A Pattern Garden"
    I was so pleased to find that "A Pattern Garden" is still being reviewed...check out Allan Becker's generous review on his Garden Guru blog.. I felt like Allan really understood what I was working towards in that book....he writes...."There is a delightful abstract quality to this publication. In it, the author takes good garden design to a higher, more spiritual level. Instead of discussing the aesthetic and scientific elements of design, as so many traditional garden design books do, she focuses on the role played in garden design by archetypal ideas - a.k.a. patterns - that reference the longings of human beings. These pleasure and comfort-rooted ideas are those that inspire designers to create gardens that are satisfying beyond their beauty." see more at http://allanbecker-gardenguru.squarespace.com/journal/valerie-easton
  • Planting art
    Check out this interview with Val in the Chicago Tribune on using art in the garden...

The New Low Maintenance Garden

  • Reviews Are In....
    "Over the years, countless books have espoused a low-maintenance approach to gardening. None have been as engaging, practical, or inspiring as this latest of Easton's contributions to the gardener's bookshelf,"
    - Pacific Horticulture magazine, Jan/Feb/Mar 2010

    "A handy guide to a garden you can raise without a corresponding increase in your blood pressure..handsome and informative...."
    - Metropolitan Home, Dec. 2009

    "This book is an invaluable addition to the garden library – destined to be a classic for many years to come."
    - Garden Design Online

Photo Credits

  • The banner and portrait photos were taken by Jacqueline Koch; all other photos by Val Easton unless otherwise credited.

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