The Perfect Wedding Present for Green-Fingered Newly-weds
Plant profile of Cornus controversa ‘Variegata’, the Wedding Cake Tree.
It’s not easy trying to choose a wedding present or a gift to remember a wedding anniversary. But if you know that the happy couple have any interest in gardening Cornus controversa ‘Variegata’, otherwise known as the Wedding Cake Tree is a very appropriate horticultural gift to give on the big day.
The Wedding Cake Tree gets it’s name from the tiered layers of horizontal branches that develop this distinctive structure and shape with age, resembling the tiers of a wedding cake. Cornus controversa ‘Variegata’ grows steadily to a maximum height and spread of 8 metres.
Cornus controversa ‘Variegata’ is deciduous and fully hardy, before the leaves fall in autumn they display lovely red-purple colours. Throughout the rest of the year, the leaves are mid-green with a very distinctive, broad cream-white border.
It is at this time of year; late spring/early summer that flat clusters of creamy white flowers begin to open on the Wedding Cake Tree. The clusters are 15-20cm across.
The species controversa, from which ‘Variegata’ came about (introduced in the late 1600’s) can be found growing wild in the forests of Japan, China and Korea. It can grow twice as tall and wide as ‘Variegata’, the mid-green leaves, without any variegation contain much more chlorophyll and therefore are more efficient when it comes to photosynthesis resulting in more vigorous overall growth.
The term Cornus is derived from the Latin for ‘horn’ a reference to the hard wood of the trees and shrubs in the Genus.
It is best to let Cornus controversa ‘Variegata’ develop it’s shape naturally and not interfere by pruning except if there are any crossing or dead branches. The Wedding Cake tree can be grown on any reasonably nutritious soil that is reasonably drained but does hold on to some moisture.
If you are feeling extra generous, why not give two Wedding Cake trees on the big day to emphasise and commemorate the marriage partnership.
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