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Winter Stems

Winter Stems

Along the main path in the Azalea Walks before the Play Area

The winter stems of the white willow (above with yellow stems) and the red stems of Siberian dogwoods deliver fantastic colour throughout the winter months and contrast well to make a magnificent display.

The colourful stems fade and disappear as they get older so every 1-2 years, in early spring; all the stems are cut off.  It looks fairly drastic but it doesn't harm the plants. As a result of this pruning, the plants grow new colourful stems through the spring and summer ready for us to enjoy in the following winter.

White willows (Salix alba) are a native to the UK and gets their common name from the white undersides of their leaves.  Willow wood is very flexible when it is young and has been used for centuries to weave items like baskets and fences.  Here at Ness, we use it to make fun things too, like the Giant spider that lives in Little Overdale woodland.  There is also a Willow Reindeer and Giant Rabbit outside our Visitor Centre. 

Siberian dogwood (Cornus alba) was first introduced into Britain in 1741 from Siberia.  The variety planted along the pathway is Cornus alba 'Sibirica', an undemanding shrub, which apart from being pruned needs no othercare and attention so long as it is planted somewhere it likes; sunny or part shade avoiding excessively wet or very well drained soils.  It also has quite spectacular autumn colour.