Friday, January 20, 2012
The Daily DuBrule
Do you ever think about siting plants so that they glow in the setting sun? That was my goal when I decided to add two Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' shrubby dogwoods to my lower border. This bed was created when the stone masons excavated for my water garden and patio. Giant piles of rich topsoil had to go somewhere, so I sculpted a long, low berm in the far end of my yard. The sun sets behind this berm, moving from left to right as the season progresses.
I would like to say that I knew exactly what I was doing when I sited these plants, but I have to admit I was lucky. It turns out that when the sun is setting in the winter, it hits the brilliant orange/yellow/coral twigs of this stunning beauty for about 10 minutes each day. If I had placed them any further to the right, it would have missed them.
I can now sit in my studio and watch these colorful, native shrubs light up and glow at sunset every winter day that the sun shines. In fact, late one afternoon, I was out pruning damaged wood off of my 'Midwinter Fire' plants (damage left over from the Halloween snow storm which wreaked havoc on so many of my woody plants) and the sun hit me. It was a magical moment.
Now, when I design, I will try and be as accurate as I can be in tracking exactly where the sun goes down during the different months of the year. There are so many other cool plants to try this technique with.