A fascinating genus of plants Cornus can be deciduous shrubs or trees, or creeping, woody-based perennials, some with brightly coloured young stems. Tiny flowers are borne in dense clusters, sometimes with showy bracts. Many have fine autumn colour
Cornus Alba Sibirica The brightest of a colourful bunch of dogwoods grown for winter effect. Sibirica’ has brilliant crimson stems that stand out like dazzling statues in the winter garden, the effect is further enhanced when under planted with snowdrops. It responds well to very hard pruning in spring. Sibirica survives in wet soil.
Cornus Flaviramea’ is a mid-sized, deciduous shrub with green leaves turning red or orange in autumn. It has distinctive greenish-yellow stems that lighten in winter. It bear white flowers in spring and summer followed by white berries in autumn. They are a great companion plant to Sibirica.
Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’ is a work-horse shrub, In the spring, bright grey-green leaves emerge from vibrant red stems, with a wide, irregular margin of pure white. This variegation remains effervescent and does not fade during summer. In autumn the display changes to gold, apricot and rose-red. Once the leaves have dropped in late autumn, its vibrant red stems are revealed, adding interest to the winter garden.
Cornus sanguinea Midwinter Fire Compact habit with shoots bright orange-yellow and red in winter. Leaves pale yellow-green in summer and orange-yellow in winter
Cornus alternifolia Argentea One of the best silver variegated shrubs, The leaves are small with a regular, creamy-white margin. A large, spreading deciduous shrub with distinctly tiered branches, sometimes called the wedding cake tree. The flowers are white, in small flat heads; it also has black berries in autumn
Cornus kousa var. chinensis is a large, free-flowering deciduous shrub, with ovate leaves turning red and orange in autumn. It bears flower heads with four ovate cream bracts. It has smooth margined leaves and large, tapered bracts to 5cm (2in) long which open creamy white and then turn white, and eventually red-pink in autumn.