Saturday, March 8, 2008

Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas)

This is the flower of the cornel. Beautiful, isn’t it?

This cornel was one of the first plants we planted in our garden. Someone told in the nursery how lucky we are that they even sell cornel now. At that time I felt the garden infinitely large, and so I thought well, then let us buy one of this, too. At home we put it at the end of the garden.

It was not an especially attractive plant. In the first years only some sad rods protruded from the earth. I did not dig it out only because I had no time for it.

I began to change my opinion when it started to bloom a little bit more. Apart from the twisted hazelnut, this is one of the first shrubs that blooms at the same time with the early goldenrods. After some time I found its flowers so much more refined that I gave the goldenrod to someone. But it became my real favorite when it produced so many berries that there remained some to me as well after the thrushes. (Seven years were necessary to reach this production.) It is very tasty. I like it the best when completely ripe, with gypsy toast (bread plunged in eggs and then fried in oil).

height: 3-5 meters
width: 3-5 meters - I read that it is also suitable for cut fence. I cut ours only once a little bit, but it took that in bad part.
American hardiness zone: Z4 (down to -32 ºC)
bloom: in early spring
fruit: small red oval berries at the end of summer, sweet if you leave them ripe completely.
demand of light: It likes sunshine, but also survives in part-shadow.
demand of soil: It prefers light, permeable soil (like at us), but they say it lives on any soil.
demand of water: It likes water, although at us it grows on a rather dry soil.

detailed description: University of Connecticut Plant Database - Don’t panic if in the beginning it grows extremely slowly. Even this database writes that it gets stable very slowly.
It is worth to check the complete database, they give very detailed and reliable descriptions.

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