In the Garden
*Also known as flowering dogwood
This small tree is an attention-getter when it comes into bloom. However, what appears to be large, white, notched petals are actually bracts (modified leaves) that protect the tiny, greenish-white cluster of flowers in the center. Because dogwood blooms at this time of year, it is commonly used on Ostara altars. Cut a couple of boughs to drape over your altar or scatter some of the large white bracts across the altar top.
This tree’s genus name comes from the Latin cornu, meaning “horn” because of the hardness of its wood.21 Its common name, dogwood, has nothing to do with canines; in fact, early on the tree was called dagwood. In Germany, the wood was used to make skewers and other pointed tools as well as sturdy animal prods called “dags” (with the “a” sound as in “father”).22 In America, the name dagwood evolved into dogwood.
Dogwood is associated with making wishes come true and has been used in charms for getting one’s own way. The energy of this tree is known to engender loyalty and fidelity. Carry a small piece of twig to foster this in the people around you, but only if you are deserving of it. Sitting under a dogwood is said to inspire new ideas and to help view a situation in a new light. To call on the protective aspect of this tree, place a few of its white bracts under your welcome mat to serve as guardians of your home. Because we now call it dog-wood, think of them as acting as guard dogs.
Dogwood’s astrological influence comes from Mars.