“Isn’t that a Cornus florida? What’s all this about watering restrictions, growing nothing but plants that need no irrigation here, western dryland plants, etc. etc. etc.?”
I get this a lot. Of course, attentive readers will know that never have I even remotely suggested that all I grow are plants that need no irrigation, or that I even advocate that kind of gardening. People do tend to jump to conclusions, and I’ve had to go to considerable lengths to explain that the rhododendrons here, which are all grouped together in a little portion of the garden, are not “water-wise” by any standard, even though I write about dryland plants almost exclusively.
Yes, it is a Cornus florida. It’s supposed to help shade the rhodies. George Schenk, in The Complete Shade Gardener (like his moss book, one of the all-time best gardening books), says “when established, the tree will withstand summer drought’. Like a lot of other easterners. It’s not getting high-desert conditions here, in any case. And I have a ready made 6-foot tall cage I can throw over it, with some burlap, to get it used to the sun and dry air. Or whatever it needs getting used to.
But ultimately, the fact that I might have to explain this to some people really does separate them from the true gardeners, who need no explanations, because they understand.