Saturday, June 14, 2008

Dwarf Dogwood

This is the little known dwarf dogwood, also commonly referred to as bunch berries. (Cornus canadensis)

The plus side to our local power company removing about 12 pine trees from the right away they have to our property is, exposing this small hillside dotted with bunch berries. They are a cute little flower that serves well as a interesting ground cover. I'm pleased they continue to grow and flourish every year as they prefer to be under coniferous trees, planted in a mossy damp area. Here you see another group blooming with tea berries that already have their berries. Yum! I remember the tea berry gum we craved as children and wish I could find it again. Its a little hard convincing Nikki these berries are edible, she doesn't like the idea of well water!

When I first moved to our property I discovered this flower right away and immediately thought.....if I coat the berries I could use them for my pine cone Christmas baskets as holly berries. Didn't work out that way, the paint automatically shrivels the berry to a raisin. Plan B. Red plastic berries.

The bunch berry or dwarf dogwood provides seasonal interest starting in early spring to late fall. It begins in May as a minty green, individual, five inch plant with 3 to 6 whorled leaves and can go unnoticed until it flowers.

In the start of June and lasting for a couple weeks the solitary white flower blooms, it is a four petaled flower that's about the size of a dime. At a quick glance the bunch berry could be mistaken for the wild strawberry, but upon closer inspection the leaves are smooth and not serrated. The bunch berries does not send out runners. The flowers are pollinated in the late spring by the wind caring the pollen from one flower to another neighboring flower.

Come late summer the vivid red berries appear. I thought this native plant got the name of "bunching" because it grows so close together but it is from the berry production. One flower can grow 5 to 6 berries, with the hardy leaf and stem holding them off the ground.

In the early fall the berries become crunchy and are a favorite food for the birds. The seeds are spread through the droppings of the birds, thus beginning another "bunch" and a whole other group. The final dramatic change the plant experiences is the deep shade of purple that appears in the late fall when the leaves change their color. I don't think bunch berries are easily transplanted, they seem to like where they land and apparently do quite well in full sun.

In the garden......looking for ANY red berry.


  1. Good morning all. Yes Dawn, I would LOVE some bunch berries in my garden. I have often looked at them in catalogs. Not sure how groundcovers will do down here, as teaberries died out, but I can give it a try if it free!

  2. Your welcomed to all you want, they aren't going anywhere. When you come up leave your stuff at home! Your going to need the space for your plants! Tee hee..

  3. LOL, funny Dawn. Zack can tell you that I have some teaberry gun.
    It is in a glass basket sitting on the hooiser. You can buy it at several mail order places. Of the top of my head I know a couple of places that have it. Vermont Country Store and Buy Direct. I have bought from both places online. They also have blackjack gum and Skybars, which I love and can't find in a store.

    Hope all has a good day. Where is Skeeter?

  4. Hello Jean, here I am...LOL, the Saint got off work early yesterday so we took off to SC to eat at Old McDonalds Fish Camp. Neat Mom & Pops place and great food. Since I don’t care for certain fish, I had Shrimp and Deviled Crab. Saint had Perch. Once home I had to work on unfinished computer work so no time to check back in on blogs.

    I am a bit worried about Lola since we have not been hearing from her in a while. Lola, I hope you are well and family is doing fine…

    This is a cute little flower Dawn! I love the berries and can see why you would want to use them in crafting. I use to craft a lot when we lived in Germany and was also the Assistant Manager of the American Craft store in Heidelberg! I would use fake berries just like these in floral arranging and wondered if there were such a real berry out there and now I know there is!

    I know a lot of people dont like the wild strawberries but I think they are such a cute plant. But hey, I think the dandelions are pretty flowers also... LOL...

  5. Hi Mom, I didn't realize you have some teaberry gum. Have to get Nikki to try it. Every once in a while I pop a berry, clean it, and chew for a few minutes, we used to do that OFTEN as kids.
    Skeeter, there is some kind of bush up here that has long spikey thorns, looks much like a hawthorn except when it looses it's leaves it had lively red berries, bigger than biggest blueberries. I thought I was nuts for stopping beside the road to cut some and dry it, til I saw a couple other ladies do it! Our poor husbands! They basicly are hollow and dry hard. Maybe I'll look it up.

  6. Mom, I love teaberry gum. I had some when I was there last year. I bought a teaberry plant in 2003 prior to going to Iraq. It survived...for about 2 years, then died out. Too hot and humid I think. It is not real common down here at all. Not that I have seen.

    Skeeter, I will email Lola again.

    Dawn, Can you remember chewing on the teaberry leaves in the woods? Loved it. Hawthorns are supposed to bbe great shrubs.

  7. Hi Dawn --I love Teaberry Ice cream --the only place I could find it was a local Dairy back in PA --it was delicious! It had such a bright pink color when they made it --reminded me of bubblegum but tasted OH SO MUCH better. And, you can occasionally find teaberry/blackjack gum at our local Rural King -at least back during the holidays I saw some up by the front registers. If not, like Jean said you can buy online from a few stores that keep the nostalgic candy/gums. Hi Tina --it was yard mowing day for me --wow was it ever thick --but I won't complain we had such nice rain last night. The big boys got caught in the rain on the lake:) They made it home fine but Boy 2 was looking a bit scared :0) I guess the storm and being on a boat didn't sit well with him. I'm guessing the thunder and lightning?? Tonight we'll head out to church so we can spend quality time with the daddy tomorrow for dad's day.
    Hi Nina, Skeeter and Lola --
    Must get some inside work done --started on the outside today instead of the inside so the laundry is waiting to be folded. Ciao!

  8. Anonymous, I never knew there was Teaberry ice cream! I bet it was better the bubblegum!
    Laundry in waiting for me too, esp since my clothesline was put up today, no more shortcut!

  9. I emailed Lola a few days ago but have not heard back from her. She was going with a granddaughter to SC or Tn, can't remember where so am thing (hoping) that is why we have not heard from her lately.

    The fish place sounds great. I love most fish.

    Teaberry ice cream, oh my, that does sound good and I also never heard of it.

  10. Hi Dawn and Jean --I would check up that way with a local Dairy --I would almost bet they could make it:) I LOVED, loved -loved it up in PA as a kiddo. I believe you are correct Jean --Lola mentioned visiting someone and the ggs going to vist family. I would guess she doesn't have computer access or is busy with driving and visiting. I hope all is well. Hi Tina --how many more days? You know I didn't buy a ticket, lol. I will look at your yard for free --being the cheapo that I am, hahaha. Actually I wouldn't be able to come alone if I did it with hubby working so I'd be buying 5 tickets --so not this time. And, we are getting our deck and pergola painted. We are also going to get the house pressure washed --I can't wait to see how it looks all clean and freshly painted. He said it may be a week or two since he is already working on some other jobs (the contractor) but we are on his list, yeah!!! Have to go take the kiddos out back --we saw two deer last night so we want to see them again --who knows maybe they brought some friends:) No, Skeeter I didn't give them any snacks .....yet:0) But, maybe a few apples might do the trick:0) See you later!

  11. Anonymous, Put out a Salt lick for the deer! That was our first treat for them and they love it. The birds peck on it and yesterday the Saint saw the bunny on the lick! We need rain here even the animals doing strange things! One bunny is trying to move into the house with us! Keeps following me in the garden and all over the yard. So content with me that it lays down on its side and watches me water stuff! Probably scoping out what it is going to eat when the stinky stuff wears off... Ha....
    We washed the siding on the upper part of the house last weekend. We see we missed a couple of spots but they will wait until the Saint is ready to climb the ladder again. Way up there. The main part of the house is brick so no need to do the low spots. I think they have this all backwards as the low part should be siding as it is the easy part to get to… LOL. Next house will be all brick and one story with attached garage! I miss my garage…

    Teaberry gum yum, I remember it. Think I have seen it at the Cracker Barrel stores so try there! Would love to try the ice cream... We had Wendy's Frosty's today. For every Frosty product sold this weekend, they are giving a donation to Adoption funds. We got treats and they get a donation. Good deal....

    Several things wilted in the yard today. ARggg, we need rain... Send rain... I am ready to get out the feathers and bells to do a dance for rain... argggg....

    Brought in some catnip from the garden and the two fuzzy girls went crazy over it. They nibble and nibble and loved it. I am now waiting to see who will barf first! LOL…

    Everyone have a good nights sleep...

  12. I'm getting concerned 'bout Lola too. And I hope Nina comes back soon.
    Skeeter, we bought a scratch pad for the kittys the other day. (They use it thank god.) Not only did my black coon get it out of the shopping bag but he managed to get the nip bag and bite a hole in it! He was smashed before we knew it! Later he was in the trash getting the lid! It was in a box, in a box and he got stuck! Maybe I should grow catnip!
    Anonymous, I'll have to check around for the ice cream, if only to at least taste it once.

  13. I've never seen or heard of dwarf dogwoods before. They're a very pretty flower. I think I prefer them to the real dogwood. They look like they actually last longer, and the berries are very pretty. gorgeous color!

  14. They found the lid in the trash can! That is too funny....

  15. That is funny Dawn. A few years ago for Christmas I had bought a 12x12 pillow for Rascal and it had catnip in it. I had to put it in a closed closet as she would dig it out (with other presents on top of it) and tear the wrapping off it. And some people think cats are stupid!!!

  16. DP, they are a very long lasting flower and I love how they bunch, I'm going to try at another point to get them in a spot to enhance my landscaping. Think they need to be transplanted with ALOT of soil, clumps. Nothing really grows under them and it is lovely all season.
    Skeeter and Mom, Yep, cats are smart! My coon can smell nip wrapped and in a drawer. He loves it, cries for it, and spends way too much time getting tipsy, least he gets dopey and not mean!

  17. Hi guys, I remember now Lola was going out of town. Don't worry.

    Anonymous, We got good rain too. Glad the 'boys' made it home safe.

    Teaberry icecream sounds heavenly!

    Cats are funny.

    Plants that nothing grows under are great!

    My kitty doesn't bother the catnip for some reason.

    Two big things for locals: Japanese beetles are back in town!! Saw them yesterday for the first time this year.

    Blueberries are in at the Tin Barn. Each Saturday you can pick. I will post more on it later.