By GRACE GADDY
People driving around town recently may have noticed a certain type of tree opening up and spraying bouquets of little ivory blossoms everywhere.
It's the same one everyone loves to adore this time of year, none other than the regionally-prized flowering dogwood.
And wasn't it polite of the trees to bloom now, right as Palestine's three-week Dogwood Trails Celebration wraps up this weekend?
City of Palestine Marketing Director Breezy Lake-Wolfe said “it just happened overnight.”
“The dogwoods are in full bloom right now,” Lake-Wolfe said, adding that Davey Dogwood Park is especially picturesque. “I went out there (Tuesday) and it was just absolutely beautiful.”
The park is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and features two entrances. The main entrance is located at 900 N. Link St., and a bus entrance is located on Queen Street off North Loop 256.
“They're in full bloom, and there are actually some trees that aren't open all the way in Davey Dogwood Park. So the next few weeks are going to be absolutely gorgeous for scenic drives, for our visitors and locals.”
Lake-Wolfe said the park is also a great place for people who want to picnic, ride bikes, take photos and just enjoy the dogwoods.
There are two picnic areas inside the park. One is called Manley Mountain, which is near the park entrance on North Link Street. The other picnic areas is at the center of the park with a pavilion area.
ABOUT THE FLOWERING DOGWOOD
As if someone took a giant can of powdered sugar and emptied it over the top, the flowering dogwood's creamy blooms can be seen frosting trees and occasionally riding in the air.
As winter quietly exits, the flowers bring glad tidings of warm weather, arriving hand-in-hand with another anticipated visitor – the spring season, which officially arrived March 20.
Palestine's annual tradition of the Dogwood Trails Celebration is timed to welcome the arrival of the springtime flowers, which bloom between March and June and persist for two to four weeks.
According to the National Plant Data Center, the deciduous multi-branched flowering dogwood of the Dogwood Family (Cornaceae) is “characterized by a rounded crown and horizontal branches that spread wider than its height.”
Most people tend to think the dogwood's flowers are white, since this is the most visible blossom. But in actuality, the flowers are the little yellow clusters in the center of the bloom.
Like tiny framed bouquets, the golden flowers are enveloped by four large white bracts.
Bracts are modified leaves, having a rounded notch on the outer edge, and are often mistaken for petals.
According to the NPDC, the dogwood also bears fruit in the fall, which “are yellow to red berrylike drupes that contain one to two cream-colored, ellipsoid seeds.”
Fruits ripen in September and October with attractive fall foliage, and flowers bloom between March and June, with or before the leaves.
In gardening, the dogwood is popular as a shade tree on patios, as a shrub border or backdrop species, or as a stand-alone ornament adorning a lawn. It is best suited in an area receiving less than full-day sun.
Locally, the trees are slated to bless our area for a couple more weeks – setting a scenic backdrop for Easter dress photos, family picnics and moments in the park spent running with a pooch and a frisbee.
For more information about the Dogwood Trails Celebration, visit www.texasdogwoodtrails.com, or the blog www.dogwoodbloomwatch.blogspot.com.