Cornus x 'Norman Hadden'
The story begins with the Plantsman, Norman George Hadden (1888 - 1971), who lived and gardened in his property 'Underways ' in West Porlock, near Minehead, Somerset.
The garden had a marvellous reputation, with good soil and a mild climate. Norman's gardening extended into the surrounding woodland where grew an extensive collection of plants including a number of dogwoods. Among them being Cornus kousa and Cornus nuttallii.
In 1958, he wrote in his garden notebook that he had found a self-seeded Cornus kousa x Cornus nuttallii. He naturally assumed it to be that hybrid because he found it growing underneath a C.nuttallii near to a C.kousa, however it took several years to unravel the mystery of it's true parentage.
It was first exhibited in 1968 at an RHS Show under the name of Cornus 'Porlock'. Later in that year, Lady Anne Palmer of Rosemoor received a cutting from Norman and when the plant flowered she queried this hybridisation as she noted that it flowered at a different time of year from it's alleged parents.
As it turned out, a promiscuous Cornus kousa growing half a mile away in the woods was responsible for the cross with the equally free - seeding Cornus capitata.
After the initial confusion, Cornus x 'Norman Hadden' was confirmed to be a semi-evergreen cross between the Dogwoods, Cornus kousa, (a deciduous tree originally from Japan) and Cornus capitata (an evergreen Cornus from the Himalayas).
All photography copyright © Andrea Jones
QR interpretation service © Garden Exposures