Winter colour at Kew Gardens

If you thought early spring offered only yellow narcissi, purple crocus and white snowdrops, how about these vibrant Cornus (Dogwood) varieties.  Captured at Kew Gardens today, they made an eye-catching display near the water.

To ensure the best stem colour, prune them a few inches from the base as the first leaves form. This might seem drastic, but if you feed and mulch afterwards new growth will soon start. In autumn many Cornus have beautiful glowing colours. 

My particular favourite is Cornus sanguinea 'Mid-Winter Fire.'  It doesn't get too high at 1m, although it may throw out suckers which are easily removed to control it's spread.  These can even be potted up to produce new plants.  My own shrubs are grown where they catch the low winter sun, and are currently glowing beautifully. You can see how hard I prune them, but I enjoy the cut stems in a large terracotta pot.  They can also be used as supports for perennial plants as they grow. In autumn the leaves turn a buttery yellow-gold.