The only shrub currently in bloom in my garden is Cornus racemosa – the grey dogwood. Or gray dogwood, if you prefer the American spelling. The ‘grey’ part comes from its bark, which, is, um, a dull grey, as opposed to a shiny red or yellow or brown most other dogwoods have. Racemosa refers to the type of flower it has – racemes. That’s interesting in itself, because a racime usually refers to many flowers coming off a central stalk (Lily of the Valley is a common example). Then I found this reference that says due to the branching of the inflorescence “…it should be called a panicle.” Whatever its called, mine is loaded with flowers right now, and the flowering period has been quite long this year, and it appears quite attractive to various pollinators.
This shrub is native to southeastern Canada and northeastern United States. I discovered one at the edge of our wooded area and liked its leaves, which have a pale, almost grey underside, and its berries, which are white and appear in the fall, long after berries from other dogwoods have been gobbled up by birds. I purchased another a few years ago. I should have done a bit of research before I planted it because, as I’m just now discovering, it has this habit of suckering. That is, it sends up shoots from the roots or base of the trunk, that will lead to a nice size clump up to 3.5 metres (12 feet) high and wide if not pruned.
The denseness of this bush, if left unpruned, makes it ideal as a screen (it hides our propane tank from my kitchen window view) and is great for wildlife. It’s tough, grows in sun or part shade, adapts to moist or dry soil, apparently does well in a more polluted, urban environment, and the leaves, most years, will turn a nice red in the fall.