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Pursuits | By ​David Wheeler

Fragrance and Colour

The hardiest of gardeners can dismiss November as a dud month. Still, a visit to a nursery or garden centre at this time of the year reveals a cornucopia of desirable plants that flourish during the chill. Many deciduous trees and shrubs will have discarded their foliage by now, leaving in their wake colourful or otherwise interesting bark. The low-growing dogwoods (Cornus) family bestows a myriad of delights, with vibrant, woody stems, shaded from the deepest wine red (C. alba ‘Westonbirt’) and purple-black (C. a. ‘Kesselringii’) to a host of fiery orange/red hues (C. a. ‘Anny’s Winter Orange’, ‘C. sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ and more) that seem to smoulder when caught in low winter sunshine. To keep any of these within bounds – growing, say, no taller than three feet – the stems should be chopped off close to ground level just as the leaf buds begin to swell in early...

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