By Sarah Naron

Messenger Reporter

PALESTINE – With help from the plentiful rainfall received throughout the area in recent weeks, the 2018 dogwood season is off to a “spectacular” start, according to Anderson County AgriLife Extension Agent Truman Lamb.

“They are coming along very nicely,” he said of the white blossoms which saturate the Palestine area. “They look really good.

“I would think that we’re probably going to have a spectacular year, based on what I saw and all the rainfall we’ve received.”

According to Lamb, as long as no “killing frost” presents itself in the near future, the dogwoods should continue to bloom well.

“Other than Davey Dogwood Park, probably down Sycamore,” said Lamb when asked to identify the best locations for admiring dogwoods. “There’s a lot of dogwoods down Sycamore.”

Located at 4205 N. Link St. in Palestine, Davey Dogwood Park encompasses more than 200 acres, including nearly six miles of hard-surfaced roads. Space for picnics is available near the park entrance at Manley Mountain, as well as near the center of the park. Walking trails are located close to the picnic areas to provide nature lovers with ideal opportunities to soak in the beauty of the surrounding area.

The park is open daily from dawn to dusk, and admission is free. For more information, call 903-731-8435.

For many Christians, the dogwood tree and its dazzling blossoms hold a special connotation to Easter and the crucifixion of Jesus.

Legend has it that the cross on which Jesus died was constructed from dogwood. The trees were claimed to be much bigger and stronger in the days of His life, and following His death, the dogwoods grew smaller and with branches which were crooked, narrow and unsuitable for building.

The flowers which grow on dogwood trees consist of four petals, forming the shape of a cross. The small, green cluster in the middle of the flower is often compared to the crown of thorns which was placed on Jesus’s head prior to His death.

Positioned in the center of each of the flower’s edges is a small gap which draws to mind the holes created by the nails driven into the palms of Jesus. The area surrounding the gaps is tinged with red, the color of His blood.

Sarah Naron may be reached via email at snaron@messenger-news.com.