Irritating plant of the month December 2017 - the reluctant cornus

Good winter colour is a wonderful thing, and good coloured bark is a great way of adding such colour.  Several cornus are well known as being good givers of winter bark colour and with that in mind some years ago I bought a tiny Cornus 'Midwinter Fire'.  Even the name is exciting and filled me with expectation of fantastic bark colour to come.

It was tiny on purchase, it came in a 9cm pot.  I knew it would take a while to reach any real size and I was prepared to wait.  Whilst waiting it suffered a few accidents.  I mowed it once which removed the main growing shoot.  A year or so later part of the overhanging Black Poplar tree fell on it, that removed the second main growing shoot.  I also kept pruning it back every spring expecting this to encourage growth.  I shall give you not only my top-tip for this cornus. Whilst cornus like to have a hard prune to produce their coloured young stems, in its first few years I have found through experience it is better not to prune it harshly.  It needs to establish and build a bit of a framework to produce some good sized new stems.
So for this month's irritating plant I give you the Cornus 'Midwinter Fire', it looked the best I've seen it yet in the recent snow as it has been allowed to grow a bit for the past couple of years. 

The reason why this plant is irritating is not the fault of the plant, it is (as is often the case) the fault of the gardener (me).  This appears to be the recurring theme of this meme.....

Do you have any irritating plants?


  1. Lol, indeed the fault of the gardener, but your Cornus 'Midwinter fire'will grow, it only takes some time in this way. Another few years without accidents and it will be a beauty in winter.
    Of course I have more than one irritating plants, for instance the witch hazels. I have grown several varieties, they start well but when they have grown up, they all of a sudden die, mostly after 7 years or so. I really don't know why.....

    1. I shall have to check my witch hazels now - they’re about 7 years old .....

  2. I'm hugely irritated by a cardamom plant I bought fairly recently, as it should be okay in a bit of shade indoors. I know it won't get pods from it but was tempted by the leaves imparting flavour in cooking, eg wrapped around fish or chicken. So far I'm chopping off more brown leaves for the compost than green leaves for cooking. Hopefully I can keep it alive and see how it does in the summer. For now, it's in a (lit) corner where I can't see it! PS, There's an elderly cornus in the grounds here (albus sanguinea, I think), gorgeous stem tips but never pruned so very unruly and not showing its natural beauty. I really must take cuttings - have you ever propagated cornus from cuttings? Does it work?

  3. Think I might have just written C. albus sanguinea, duh! I mean albus sibirica, lovely dark red stems!


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