In January of last year, when my gigantic, double-trunked willow oak had to be removed, the crew foreman told me that my dogwoods would go through a period of adjustment during the first season and may appear to be under stress with all the new sun exposure. That was true last summer – some of the leaves were curled and a little crispy around the edges. He assured me that they would recover and, by this season, be better than ever. So far, I’d have to say he’s right.
The oak’s canopy covered my three dogwoods and, although lovely in a kind of ‘Oh, there they are’ way, they never really strutted their stuff. This year, I’m happy to say, they are fuller, whiter, brighter and I know part of that perception is the fact that I’m seeing them without their former cover, which visually dulled their effect. But it’s more than just perception. I really do think they are healthier, happier, and more vigorous. They’re adjusting well to their new status as stars, understudies no more.
My side deck meets the dogwood behind it at tree-house height, which has always been charming but now, with only dappled shade instead of deep shade, the deck and dogwood both appear crisper, cleaner and brighter than they ever have before.
The front dogwood, which sits near the northeast corner of the house, was directly under the canopy of the oak and now that its oppressor is gone, has seemed to stand taller and prouder as if it’s stretching for the first time. The shape seems more even and the blooms more full. I see a bright future for this one.
And then there’s the dogwood in the lower backyard between the pine trees, which is complemented by the burgundy leaves of the young Japanese maple in front of it and most beautifully by the “borrowed” Wisteria that is crawling through the trees in the neighbor’s yard, across the creek. I get to enjoy it without having to control it…….yet, at least!