March's plant of the month

Cornus mas

Sometimes it pays to ignore the gardening books. Read about Cornus mas, the winter-flowering cornelian cherry, and you will learn that they need to grown away from cold, drying winds, out of frost pockets and in well-drained soil. Whoever planted the Cornus mas in the gardens at Glyndebourne had not been reading the right books, because here the shrubs thrive.

In a cold, windy spot frost pocket in boggy soil near the lake the golden flowers glow in the spring sunlight.

It is a slow-growing shrub that, even after fifteen years years, will only get to about ten feet tall.The flowers are small and by themselves not significant but, together, they smother the shrub and create the glowing effect that has made the plant a popular spring flowering shrub.

After a hot summer, the shrub will produce red, cherry-like berries that look good against the autumn foliage.Again, according to the books, they can be used to make a tasty preserve.None of the gardeners have ever had time to make it, so we can’t verify how tasty (or otherwise) it actually is.

Click on the image gallery for each month’s special plant, and return here next month to discover more about our plant of the month for April.