Six on Saturday: Flowers from Wood

Dogwood, Cornus florida, as its buds begin opening to mark another spring.


Flowers are such soft, fragile, ephemeral things.  We wait for them for months and months, enjoy them as they bloom, and then watch them drop their petals all too quickly.


Star Magnolia, Magnolia stellata


Flowers that emerge from wood amaze me.  Hard, woody branches magically bud and blossom, opening their bark to allow such soft perfection to manifest.

What a beautiful miracle!


Camellia japonica


Thousands of flowers may open all at once, completely covering the bare, woody skeleton of a tree.  Their perfume drifts on the slightest breeze.

What a celebration of life and living to walk under a blooming cherry tree, watching stray petals floating through the air to carpet the path beneath.



Here in coastal Virginia, we celebrate the dogwoods and Azaleas as they bloom each April.  But we have already enjoyed Magnolias and hybrid pears, and we’re watching the redbuds and all of the fruit trees come into bloom this week, too.  Our roads are lined with budding and flowering trees, welcome signs of spring.

As the years go by, I appreciate woody flowers ever more.  So little effort, so much beauty…

The annual extravaganza of flowering trees is something to anticipate, reliable and always satisfying.




I came home this evening to discover buds opening on our dogwood trees.  The warmth these last few days awakened them.  The flowers will stretch and grow, each petal turning pure, glossy white as they reach their fullness.

Flowers bursting into bloom from woody wisteria vines, trees and many shrubs transform the drab winter landscape into a fantasy of flowers.  Everything is new again; soft, bright and buzzing with life.


Magnolia liliflora


Woodland Gnome 2019
“There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
Albert Einstein

Many thanks to the wonderful ‘Six on Saturday’ meme sponsored by The Propagator.



About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

9 responses to “Six on Saturday: Flowers from Wood

  1. Dogwood are an odd one for us. I grew them at the farm, but did not like doing so because they do not do so well in most of the regions where they go to. They are never very happy in the semi arid chaparral climate of the Santa Clara Valley, although they can bloom somewhat nicely. They happen to do very well here, just a few miles away, but for some unknown reason, they bloom later than they do in other regions. They are not even showing color yet! They are spectacular once they get going, and it is impossible to not appreciate them, even if I am not so keen on them in the Santa Clara Valley.

    • So interesting to hear about you growing dogwood in California! Somehow, it is hard for me to imagine them in your landscapes around the Santa Clara Valley. If anything, I’d expect them to color up in your region before ours. Do you also grow the Asian Kousa dogwoods? They bloom a good month or so after our native Cornus florida, and so help us to extend the season. The cherry trees around here are just magnificent this week! Great, billowy clouds of lightest pink on well-branched trees- Ah, spring! Have a great day, Tony 😉

      • We grew Cornus kousa along with the other cultivars, but it was not at all popular. The Cornus florid that was the least adaptable to local climates were the most popular. Landscapers here are not what they are elsewhere. I would not mind doing without dogwoods in some regions. Japanese maples are overrated here too.

        • What about Cercis chinensis? One is growing at our Botanical garden and is simply lovely right now. It seems brighter and has slightly larger flowers than our native. It is another beautiful flowering early spring tree, here. I don’t care much for the C. kousas either and would never plant one. The native is gorgeous and self-seeds in our yard. We have probably 15!

          • We have plenty of other flowering trees to choose from. We will likely add a few Eastern redbuds over the years (although not the trendy ‘Forest Pansy’). I prefer the common Eastern redbud to any of the others because it fits the style here so well. The native California redbud is too brightly colored, and does not last long. (In the wild, it is constantly replacing itself as individual plants start into decline after only about ten years or so.) So far there are only two crape myrtles in all of our vast landscapes, and I really do not want more than the few that will be planting on the main roadway in the next year or two. They are too common in the outside world, so I dislike them for here.

            • One day I hope to see your beautiful valley when it is in bloom. Which crape will you plant? Many of the older varieties self-seed here, and they are naturalizing. I don’t know whether there are any sterile hybrids, but it may be worth looking into if you don’t want them everywhere in 30 years.

              • Oh, this is not within the Santa Clara Valley that I so regularly brag about. All that idyllic scenery is long gone. This is is the Santa Cruz Mountains to the south of the Santa Clara Valley.
                We will probably go with ‘Tuscarora’. It does not get as big here as it does elsewhere. I would prefer white, such as ‘Natchez’, but white would not look so good for that situation. I am not worried about them tossing seed, because that is not a problem in our region. Also, there is no place for them to go outside of the landscape.

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