That Dog-gone Kousa Dogwood

That Dog-gone Kousa Dogwood

Kousa Dogwood in full bloom

A tree grows in Fairfield, in our backyard, taking over the garden, the house, and the patio. The Kousa Dogwood in bloom is gorgeous. In one month all the flowers turn brown and ripen into juicy berries with a bitter/astringent taste. The exterior of the berry is tough and bumpy and the only way to eat it is to suck out the fruit. A few years back, I decided to make some Kousa berry jam. I picked the berries after they ripened, mashed them and cooked them down with sugar in a saucepan until the jam was formed. After cooling, I poured the jam into mason jars and gave them to family members for Christmas.

The jam was pretty good, not delicious. The taste improved when blanketed on a cracker with a dollop of cream cheese. Despite my attempt, I didn’t think I could turn the Kousa jam-making into a side business. Perhaps the flavor would have improved by adding those tried and true Holiday ingredients: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, orange citrus, and ginger. I was left with a special colander for making jam, and special jam jars, that I have since donated to all my friends and family to make their own jam. Speaking of jars – If you’re not a fan of jam, you can use those wonderful Mason jars for candy or sugared almonds, tie a ribbon around it and voilà, a lovely gift for any occasion.


Meanwhile, we had a very fruitful Kousa Dogwood, I pruned the branches when the flowers began to brown to keep away as much fruit as possible. Alas, all that accomplished was to make the tree smaller so that the shade provided on our patio minimized. The job of collecting the fruit kept us busy picking it off the tree, and those that we missed, fell onto the lawn and patio, squishing under our feet and the lawnmower. It’s a shame the jam was not yummy, imagine making a buck from your fruit tree in your own backyard. And the birds didn’t like the fruit either, even though I read somewhere that birds love the fruit. Not the ones in our yard.

It’s been twenty years of this unwanted exercise just to enjoy the beauty of the short-lived flowers, and some shade on our patio. One day, I said to Tom, “Can we remove the tree?”

He gaped at me, his handsome face frozen in horror for a moment. “Are you sure?”

Without going into all the details, first, we trimmed all the branches. Then we cut them back, then we cut it down.

For you tree lovers, please don’t hate us, we moaned during the whole process. But we’re glad we cut the tree down because we now have more time to enjoy our backyard and our backs are thankful we won’t be doing all that extra stooping anymore.




Panera Bread Entrance Fairfield, CT
Hours: Mon-Thurs 6am-9pm, Fri-Sat 6am-10pm, Sun 6am-8pm

Do you have a favorite fast food restaurant? Mine is a special fast food restaurant, Panera Bread. I had hoped it wasn’t hearsay, that Panera Bread was coming to town. After Uno left, we had two, maybe three more restaurants open and close before you could say . . . fast food.

ummm. Panera’s hot chocolate cafe mocha

I felt a quickening in my pulse when shopping atTrader Joe’s and I could watch the old come down and the new go up. I knew the time was near when I saw the new sign “PANERA BREAD” looming over their salmon colored awnings. Join up and you get a delicious present from them on your birthday. And it has free WiFi.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup in a bread bowl

They are first choice for fast food and then some. it’s cozy and friendly, and they have delicious coffee. This is the best you can get for food served fast! Fresh baked breads, sandwiches, soups and salads are on the menu. Whole grains, free range chicken, hearty soups, and unique sandwich flavors make this a hot spot for me when I’m in a hurry or not. The zesty flavor of the Chipotle chicken with melted cheese when I sink my teeth into it….A sandwich cannot get much better than this…..and a healthy one , at that…..Goodbye Delis…. Panera Bread is taking over my town.

Pick 2 lunch: soup and sandwich

Panera Bread Company owns and franchises 1,591 bakery-cafes as of June 26, 2012, under the Panera Bread®, Saint Louis Bread Co.®, and Paradise Bakery & Café® names. Panera Bread bakery-cafes routinely donate bread and baked goods to community organizations in need. Additional information is available on their website,

A thank you goes to Tina Lemelin, Joint Venture Partner of
Panera Bread LLC  for providing the delicious food images.

Do you have a favorite fast food place or a favorite restaurant? Come on to Fairfield, CT. We’ll break some Panera Bread together.


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