The striking stems of this dogwood provide a warm welcome at the western entrance to the Winter Garden.
The woody genus Cornus contains 45 species from grasslands, woods, rocky slopes and swamps of northern temperate regions. Members of the genus usually have opposite leaves and small, star-shaped flowers are held in cymes, umbels or clusters. Many have ornamental value, being grown either for their bracted flowers, autumn foliage or their stems which provide winter interest. C. alba falls into the latter group. It is a vigorous upright shrub which produces flat cymes of small white flowers in spring and summer, though it is usually grown for its coloured stems, which range from orange and red to black-purple. ‘Sibirica’ has a suckering habit and vibrant red stems which colour best when young, so this plant should be coppiced in spring to encourage a new flush of intensely coloured stems.