The Legend of the Dogwood

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The Legend of the Dogwood Will Change the Way You View This Special Tree

Do you know the Legend of the Dogwood Tree?

Dogwoods in spring! There is no more jubilant scene than when the Dogwood Tree is decked out in its gorgeous spring blossoms. In gardens as well as in wild spaces all over the eastern U.S., the Flowering Dogwood opens its spectacular white and pink blooms to our delight. To some people, however, this pretty picture carries a deeper, more somber meaning, explained through a story from long ago. The Legend of the Dogwood Tree tells how this magnificent Tree came to be the lovely little ornamental Tree we know today.


The mighty Dogwood Tree

Our story begins almost two thousand years ago in Israel. If you ventured into the forests of Israel at that time, you would have found many tall and majestic Trees there, such as the sturdy Oak, the lofty Cedar, the Plane Tree, the Cypress, and the Walnut. All of these Trees were fine, noble Trees, good for construction and woodworking, and carpenters made use of all of them.

There was one Tree that was prized above all others. The mighty Dogwood Tree was a different Tree in those days. Although it didn’t have the showy flowers and fruit back then, it was an impressive Tree. It rose straight and true, standing taller and broader than the Oaks and Cedars. Its wood was strong, hard, and fine-grained, yet easy to work. It had no equal, and builders and woodworkers sought it out for many jobs.

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Dogwood is called upon for a terrible task

During this time a man, a simple carpenter himself, had the audacity to declare himself King of the Jews. For this crime he was sentenced to death. The method of execution in those days was crucifixion, and a special Tree would be called upon to deliver punishment to the condemned man. The timbermen were told to cut down a Dogwood Tree.

Jesus was stripped and dressed in a purple robe and made to wear a crown of thorns, mocking his claim as King of the Jews. Roman soldiers flogged him, spat on him, and jeered as he bore his cross on his way to the Calvary.


Jesus transforms the Dogwood Tree

According to the legend, the Dogwood Tree felt great sorrow for the role it played in Jesus Christ’s death. While on the cross, Jesus sensed the Tree’s anguish, and he alleviated it by changing the nature of the Dogwood Tree forever. From that point on, the Dogwood would no longer be a stately, tall forest Tree, but would become a small understory Tree with thin, twisted limbs. It could never be used in crucifixion again.


“I am the resurrection and the life”

Jesus was taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb. Three days later, he rose from the dead. At the same time, the Dogwood Trees in the forest (which were no longer timber Trees, but had become small, shrub-like Trees) burst into bloom. Every year around Easter, the Dogwoods continue to bloom in celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.

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More symbolism in the Flowering Dogwood Tree

The Dogwood Tree never again had to bear the burden of assisting in an execution, but to this day it carries the marks of Jesus’ crucifixion. The four large petals (or bracts) represent the cross he died upon, and at the edges of each petal are notches that look like rusty nail holes tinged with blood. As the flower ages it often becomes speckled with blood-like spatters. Pink Flowering Dogwoods are said to be blushing in shame for the role that the Dogwood Tree played in the Crucifixion. In the center of each flower you’ll find a greenish yellow crown of thorns.

In the fall, the foliage of the Dogwood Tree turns color, and it seems to be wearing a purple robe, like the Lord did as he walked toward Golgotha. The blossoms turn into glossy red berries that resemble glistening drops of blood.


Is the Legend of the Dogwood Tree true?

The Legend of the Dogwood Tree probably originated in the U.S. early in the 20th century. Alas, Flowering Dogwoods are native only to this country. They are not native to the Middle East and would not have been growing there in Jesus’ time. Nevertheless, the legend persists. Beloved Dogwood Trees, with their beautiful, unique blossoms and distinctive branching, continue to hold a special significance for many Christians. In their hearts, the blooming of the Dogwoods each year is not just a wonderful spectacle, but a poignant reminder of Jesus’ love and sacrifice.


Nine Wonderful Weeping Trees (Besides Weeping Willow)

Weeping Trees Soothe Us

In the language of Trees, Weeping Trees evoke feelings of serenity. There’s something about their picturesque forms that calm us when we’re in their presence. The rhythmic rise and fall of their limbs speaks to us in soothing tones. The gentle sway of their pendulous branches in the breezes that blow are the epitome of grace. Weeping Trees bring an air of romance to the landscape. They are pure poetry.

The Iconic Weeping Willow

Perhaps you thought of the iconic Weeping Willow at the mention of Weeping Trees. With its long, slender, pendulous branches and silver-backed leaves that dance in the wind, Weeping Willow certainly showcases the unique beauty that this type of Tree can provide. However, few people have the space to grow a Weeping Willow. Here are nine Weeping Trees that will bring elegance to your landscape with their flowing forms, whether your property is a spacious estate or a modestly sized lot.

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The Weeping Green Laceleaf Japanese Maple is like a cool green waterfall of soft, lacy foliage all spring and summer, but when the weather turns cool and crisp, it becomes transformed. In fall, the foliage changes to the color of molten lava flowing down the sides of Mt. Maple. In winter the smooth, muscly, gray branches are laid bare, adding visual appeal (you’ll want to touch them, too) to the winter garden. If you’d prefer burgundy-red leaves all season long, both Crimson Queen and Tamukeyama Japanese Maples will give you rich red color along with the same graceful weeping form.

The Weeping Katsura Tree is covered in pretty, heart-shaped leaves that hug arching branches which cascade to the ground. All summer long, this Tree is a fountain of soothing green foliage, and in fall the leaves turn a cheery yellow, occasionally with hints of orange. But don’t think the show stops there, because Katsura Tree plays the funniest trick in late autumn—its falling leaves smell like cotton candy! You won’t believe your nose. This is a moderately fast-growing Tree when supplied with plenty of water.

Power meets grace in the Purple Fountain Weeping Beech, a long-lived, splurge-worthy specimen Tree with an especially unusual weeping form. This showpiece naturally develops a prominent central leader that proudly shoots skyward like a spire, while its side branches weep strongly all around. The branches are clothed in foliage that emerges a vibrant crimson color, becoming deep chocolate-purple in summer and turning shades of butterscotch in autumn before falling. Consider this impressive living sculpture an investment in your home, as it will only get more valuable (and more magnificent) with each passing year.

The fast-growing Summer Cascade River Birch will paint a restful picture all season with its lovely weeping shape and serrated leaves that flutter in the breeze. In fall, the foliage turns a warm buttery yellow before dropping to put on full display the papery, peach-colored bark. This special selection of our native River Birch Tree will be a daily reminder to you of the beauty of our natural heritage. It is more heat tolerant and more resistant to pests and diseases than most other Birches.

The Pink Heartbreaker® Weeping Redbud Tree is a Bower & Branch™ original that will lend an easy elegance to your landscape with its pendulous branches clad in large heart-shaped leaves. In early spring, you’ll be treated to a parade of delicate pink blossoms that line the charcoal-gray stems. We’ve found this looker to be as rugged as it is beautiful; its branches are stronger than the older Weeping Redbud, Lavender Twist (also known as ‘Covey’), and are more resistant to breakage. We think you’ll also be pleased with how fast Pink Heartbreaker® grows, yet it stays compact enough to use in small gardens.

Perhaps you thought of the Pink Weeping Flowering Cherry Tree at the mention of Weeping Trees. This popular Tree delivers springtime cheer to many neighborhoods with its long, arching branches smothered in sweet pink cherry blossoms. The Pink Weeping Cherry can become a rather large Tree, however, and it isn’t the best choice where space is limited. In smaller gardens, you may want to try the petite Snow Fountain® Weeping Cherry Tree. This stylish small Tree’s branches arch and fall straight down like a curtain and will sweep the ground if you let them. In early spring, its branches are engulfed in a mini-avalanche of frosty white blossoms, and in fall, the dark green foliage is set ablaze with tones of crimson, orange, and gold. Our Trunk Twist Snow Fountain Weeping Cherry Tree has a coiled trunk that gives the eye additional curves to follow and draws attention in winter and all year long.

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The Weeping Alaskan Cedar isn’t a household name, but this West Coast native evergreen Tree deserves to be planted more widely, and it doesn’t need to be in the Northwest in order to thrive. It grows in a pyramidal shape, with soft sprays of deep green foliage draped dramatically from its outstretched limbs. Weeping Alaskan Cedar presents a very dignified silhouette that marries well with both traditional and contemporary styles. Why plant another (yawn) Arborvitae? This sophisticated weeping evergreen will be the picture of grace outside your window all year-round.

The Chaparral Weeping Mulberry Tree doesn’t grow like a regular Mulberry Tree, but stays much smaller, and instead of reaching for the sky, its branches cascade to the ground. This fast-growing, dome-shaped weeper may be just the ticket when you want a special Tree to set off an area of your landscape but don’t want to wait forever for it to bulk up. The kids will enjoy discovering the secret playspace underneath Chaparral’s thick canopy of foliage.

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Weeping Trees Bring Serenity to the Landscape

Weeping Trees make us feel at ease with their flowing forms and bring feelings of restfulness and serenity to the landscape. In the language of Trees, Weeping Trees say, “Relax. It’s going to be all right.” Plant one of these nine wonderful Weeping Trees in your own yard and hear that message every day.