In the dark of winter, we light candles and string lights to bring bright cheer into the coldest months of our year. And, in Virginia, we have a similar hopeful custom, waiting for the blooming of the Dogwoods that brighten the understory of the Blue Ridge Mountains, twinkling like pale and rosy lights in the mists and shadows. When do the Dogwoods bloom in the Blue Ridge? Between April-June and there is no better time to pay a visit to this corner of America than when the wildflowers are blossoming in profusion and the Dogwood trees are decked with their unique, graceful flowers.
The lyrical beauty of this American native Dogwood, Cornus Florida, has been celebrated in poems and songs and is so inspiring to Virginians that we plan festivals around it. Just a 40 minute drive from Emerson Creek Pottery in Bedford, VA., you can join the festivities at the Vinton Dogwood Festival in the Roanoke Valley. Come for the parade, crafts, music and dancing and really tune into the joy that is felt each year at the coming of spring. This year’s festival will be very special in that it marks the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Blue Ridge Parkway – that famous road that takes you right into the heart of our beloved mountain range.
Is Winter Making You Blue? Let Us Help!
As we await the return of Dogwood season here in Bedford, bring the hopeful, warm pink glow of this delicate blossom into your home and let winter cares take flight.
This offer is only good while supplies last, and we hope this discount on our Dogwood pottery housewares will enable you to start celebrating spring a little early this year!
Why We Should Care About The Dogwood
For many thousands of years, America’s First Peoples cared for the forests of Virginia, shaping them into the abundant food and medicine-producing gardens that were so gorgeous that the first Europeans mistook what they saw for ‘nature’. The Dogwood long played a special medicinal role; when the twigs were chewed, they whitened the teeth. During the Civil War, Dogwood was widely used to treat malarial fevers and stomach ailments and Mountain folk medicine still indicates the use of Dogwood for colds, pneumonia and other complaints.
Like everything else in the natural world, the Dogwood has a role that is intimately interconnected with the lives of other species. The red fall fruits of the tree are an important food source for cedar waxwings, bobwhites, woodpeckers, turkeys and other fowl and for grey and fox squirrels. The deciduous leaves fall and enrich the soil on the forest floor and the quality of the air we breathe is directly related to the presence of these trees. In the wild, flowering Dogwoods have an average lifespan of about 125 years and grow to some 30-40 feet in height in that time, beautifying the forest year after year with their ethereal loveliness. As an ornamental tree, Dogwoods are also widely used in landscaping across the south and both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson reportedly cultivated Dogwoods at Mount Vernon and Monticello. As a vital environmental blessing and a visual delight to behold, Dogwoods deserve recognition and appreciation.
If you’re spending cozy winter afternoons planning your family’s vacation for 2010, why not consider a visit to Virginia at Dogwood time? Bring a picnic and a camera to the Blue Ridge Mountains in May and you’ll be making enchanting memories that will last a lifetime!