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Dogwoods for winter bark

Light up your garden in winter with the brilliant bark and shining stems of colourful Cornus – commonly known as dogwoods

Lasting longer than any flower, the brightly coloured stems of dogwoods make a vibrant display for months on end during the darkest time of the year. What's more, they're easy to grow, tolerating a wide range of soil conditions, including waterlogging and heavy clay.

Their twiggy tones span the spectrum from zingy yellows, oranges and fiery reds to smart olive greens and even dramatic blacks! Some are native too, such as Cornus sanguinea, which is often grown in gardens as the cultivars 'Midwinter Fire' and 'Midwinter Beauty'. Insects enjoy its flowers and birds will quickly devour its blue-black fruits.Dogwoods are easy to grow in most garden situations – whether sunny or shady, and they don't mind if your soil is acid or alkaline. The only thing they don't like is really dry soil. For maximum impact plant them somewhere the low winter sun will hit them. An evergreen backdrop of shrubs or hedges will show those colours off even more.

Each RHS Garden now has its own Winter Walk or Winter Garden where you can see fantastic seasonal displays, including mass plantings of many different dogwoods.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.