Gardening Magazine

Red Twig Dogwood 'Arctic Fire'

By John Markowski @jmarkowski0
Winter interest.
Oh that elusive winter interest. 
It is in the single digits here today so winter is clearly front of mind.
With four long months of fall/winter here in the NJ, and as good as the browns and greens may look, anything that can lend a unique color to the landscape is something worth investing in. And after four years of "investing" in a redtwig dogwood ('Arctic Fire' to be exact), I am proud to announce that I have successfully kept one alive and thriving, browsing deer be damned.
More details on 'Arctic Fire' (Cornus stolonifera):*Typical size is 4' x 4'*Survives in zones 3-7*Blooms in May-June (though I have yet to witness, no biggie)*Works in full to partial sun*Tolerant of most soils, including my almost boggy conditions
Here she is current state:
Red Twig dogwood 'Arctic Fire'
Red Twig dogwood 'Arctic Fire'
And from a few weeks ago:Red Twig dogwood 'Arctic Fire'
Just about bare, and ready to carry me through the winter with her glistening red stems.
While this shrub puts on its best show during the winter, it looks "nice" in spring/summer with its clean foliage, reddish stems and leaf shape:Red Twig dogwood 'Arctic Fire'
Of course it took me years to get to this point. I have had it chewed down to the ground many, many times and just about had given up on it. But then I took a chance and placed it in a partial shade spot hoping the deer would be dumb enough to miss it. 
I am proud to announce the deer were indeed dumb and have not touched it since. Here are some of the old pics as the dogwood struggled to find its footing:Red Twig dogwood 'Arctic Fire'Red Twig dogwood 'Arctic Fire'Red Twig dogwood 'Arctic Fire'Red Twig dogwood 'Arctic Fire'
As dumb and counterproductive as it sounds, I plan on pruning this shrub back severely in spring to maintain that bright red stem color and will be sure to track its success/failure. Until then, bank on way too many photos of the stems covered in snow.

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