Monday, April 11, 2011

The Dogwood Trees are blooming!

One of the most beautiful flowering trees, in my opinion, is the dogwood tree.  It can be found throughout North America, Europe, Siberia, China, Japan and the Himalayas.  It has even been named the state flower of North Carolina.  I was reminded of the dogwood tree yesterday when I caught a few minutes of the Masters Golf Tournament on TV.  The tournament was held in Augusta, Georgia.  As I watched, the gorgeous white flowers of an outstretched dogwood branch caught my eye.  It looked as if it was trying quite hard to be noticed (and it should be) as it was reaching out over one of the sand traps.  I had forgotten what early bloomers dogwoods are, and I vowed that I would not miss them this year.

A great place to see dogwoods without having to drive all over the countryside is Central Park (NYC).  There are a number of them there.  Here are their locations: Central Park Dogwoods.  I will be visiting this Spring, for sure!  I'll visit again, of course, for the Silver Linden Tree.  There are several of those as well.  But they bloom later (late June through July).  I go to visit the Lindens for the scent alone.

What I believe makes the flowering dogwood so beautiful is that the flowers bloom before the leaves come in.  You can see each individual perfectly in its simple elegance as it reaches toward the sky.  What an unfortunate name for such a lovely tree!  Of course there are several theories: 1) in Europe, the bark of the tree was once used to treat mange on dogs - yuck!  2) the name could have been derived from the word dagwood, which was the name of a skewer-like tool that was made from the wood of the tree  3) it could have come from the word dogberry, which once referred to berry-like fruit that was essentially worthless.  None of these are very romantic...

Dogwood Branch stencil
Odd name aside, it's so lovely I had to make a stencil out of it!

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