Gettin' Twiggy With It: Growing Red Twig Dogwood

| 5/6/2019 10:55:00 AM


Ah, the middle of spring. Like most gardeners, I’ve been daydreaming about this time of the year since last fall, planning new beds and considering new plants to try. So once the rain tapers off and the dirt dries out a bit, I know it’s go time in the garden. I’ve got soil to turn under, trees to mulch, and plants to buy.

Over the past few months, I’ve been receiving all kinds of plant and flower catalogs, and their prices leave me gobsmacked: $25 for a gallon pot of some-such plant is a bit out of my budget. Or, the alternative is to spend less, but basically buy a two-foot dormant stick with a few spindly bare roots for a couple of bucks. Will it grow? Sometimes. On a few occasions, I have purchased the cheapo rooted sticks of plants that are known to be a workhorse in the garden, those that are notorious for growing quickly and easily. Shrubs like forsythia, privet, and hybrid willows or poplars are generally easy to work with, and you will probably have a good outcome if you plant them properly and have patience.

For finicky, slow-growing plants, like evergreens, you may want to shell out a few extra dollars and get a more established potted plant. I’d love to recommend buying 10-inch pine or spruce seedlings for a dollar or two a piece, but for me, I’d rather buy something like that a little larger so I can live to see it mature into a nice focal point in my landscape. Plus, my husband tends to be a little reckless on the mower, and most of the time, these seedlings end up with an unwanted haircut. Might as well shred a couple bucks and toss them in the yard.

And then there are the times when I’m driving around the county, and I see something growing in someone’s ditch or culvert, and a mental light bulb goes off. I was coming home yesterday afternoon, and I just happened to look over in my neighbor’s culvert and saw a small colony of red twig dogwood that I had never noticed before. I think I must have had cartoon heart eyes because I couldn’t stop thinking about its red branches, and how I wanted to get a hold of a start for my garden.

So, I messaged my neighbor, Ryan (a fantastic custom Funko artist), and asked him to see if his mom would mind if I jumped down into the culvert to dig up a couple red twig dogwoods to plant over at my place. Thankfully, she said I could.

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