Cornus officinalis in bud along Meadow Road at the Arnold Arboretum
Am I the only one who feels a deep kinship to certain trees? I was in Jamaica Plain yesterday for an art class and visited the Arnold Arboretum primarily to see if the Cornus officinalis was in bloom. I first met this tree about 15 years ago and it has had a lasting imprint on my gardening life.
Two decades ago, the only shrub I knew with very early yellow flowers was the ubiquitous forsythia. I had no idea a plant like Cornus officinalis existed. Like its Asian sibling, Cornus mas, it has clusters of golden yellow flowers in April, long before the more flamboyant blossoms of crab apples and magnolias come onto the scene. Later in autumn, it will have bright red fruit and striking exfoliating bark as its winter asset.
I had read about this small tree and finally got to see it in person at the Arnold Arboretum. This particular plant originated from seed collected in Japan in 1919, the year my father was born. I fell in love with its subtle charms and located a small plant for my own garden. As much as I love my tree, which finally making a presence in my garden, the Arnold tree is my favorite. It reminds me of the excitement of discovery and wonders of plants and places I had never dreamed of.