The dogwoods Cornus alba 'Siberica', which has red stems, and Cornus stolonifera 'Flaviramea', with green stems, together form a good basis for a winter garden.
Cornus alba 'Elegantissima' is another reliable dogwood that has variegated leaves that will brighten up the shrub border in summer.
If you have room, you could mix dogwoods with the slightly larger but attractive golden willow, Salix alba vitellina 'Britzensis'.
You will need to cut the stems of these plants back hard every other year in early spring to promote autumn colour and stop them from growing too large.
The latter can also make an attractive feature on its own provided it is kept under control as a coppiced shrub.
Animals that benefit
- Robins and mistle thrushes will eat the clusters of berries