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Southern Stems: Dogwood

by in Inspirations on

Some of my earliest memories of my childhood in Virginia are the walks my mom and I used to take through our neighborhood. My mom loves gardening, so she would always point out the trees and flowers she knew. One of her favorites was the delicate dogwood tree, especially when its flowers blossomed in the spring–it has since become one of my very favorite flowers as well! For this installment of our Southern Stems column (see past posts about camellias, wisteria, bluebonnets, and gardenia), we’re discussing this sure sign of spring. Dogwoods are also the state flower of North Carolina, so we have a bit of a soft spot for them around here!

Photo via Plants in the Mail, overlay by SW

There are quite a few species of dogwood, but the flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) is one of the most common, especially in the South. The trees flower in spring, and while most produce white flowers, some bloom in shades of pink or even light red. Dogwoods are the state flower for both North Carolina and Virginia, and since the dogwood tree is Virginia’s state tree too, these flowers are extra sentimental for Virginia brides!

Clockwise from top: Saipua, Jen Huang Photography via Once Wed, Love Me Do Photography via Love ‘n Fresh Flowers, Karen Wise via The Knot, Martha Stewart Weddings

The Victorian flower meanings for the dogwood vary, but they all fall under a similar theme. Variations include faithfulness, steadfastness, durability, and endurance. All pretty great symbolism to include in a wedding, don’t you think?

Clockwise from top left: Megan Clouse via Elizabeth Anne Designs, Chris Bailey Photography, Annabella Charles via Wedding Chicks, Jose Villa via Style Me Pretty

Since dogwoods are a tree flower, I think they look their best when arranged in a loose, natural way, but they are incredibly versatile. Pair them with other all-white flowers for a monochromatic statement, or combine them with a variety of small wildflowers for a just-picked garden look. With their thin stems, they’re also darling in bud vases or glass bottles. And how pretty are these dogwood-inspired cakes? The different designs–one incorporating the branches and one clustering the blooms on top–really speak to the versatility of the flower.

Abby Jiu Photography via Once Wed, via Martha Stewart Weddings

Finally, a few pretty products that would look gorgeous at a dogwood-filled Southern wedding! We love this wedding stationery line from Paperwhites, which comes in all different colors, and the Dogwood Flower Hairpins from BHLDN would be the perfect finishing touch in a wedding day hairstyle.

What’s your favorite Southern stem? Will you be using it in your wedding day flowers? We’d love to hear!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Stephanie reply

    I love dogwoods!! I also grew up with them, and they have such sentimental value to me. Chapel Hill also has tons of gorgeous dogwoods in the Spring, including beautiful pink blooms!

  2. avatar Laura reply

    Dogwoods are my absolute favorite flower! As a NC native, they always make me think of home. And I love when they bloom because it’s the first sign that spring is on its way.

  3. avatar Katie reply

    Peonies are my favorite southern flowers! I can’t wait to have those big soft blossoms in my wedding bouquet in May!

  4. avatar Meredith reply

    Wow, Lisa, you are reading my mind this week! Dogwoods are my favorite and my florist was so excited I wanted to use them in my bouquet :) To me they are the quintessential Virginia flower… I can’t wait for spring when all the Dogwoods, Red Buds, Azaleas, and Cherry Blossoms around Charlottesville start blooming!

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