• Combining two dogwoods of different hues can be particularly effective, for example Cornus sericea ‘Bud’s Yellow’ adds golden highlights with the warm tones of Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’.
• Alongside water Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ makes the winter wands of Salix alba var. vitellina ‘Britzensis’ glow even brighter. The cornus stems will be tall and strong if grown in wet conditions.
• Underplanting winter stems with evergreen ground cover subjects is particularly effective, displaying the stems against a leafy carpet, rather than against bare soil. Low-growing sedges, such as Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’, are ideal under the
red stems of Cornus alba Baton Rouge (= ‘Minbat’). • Large-leaved ivies, such as Hedera colchica ‘Sulphur Heart’, make attractive ground cover and work well under the lower growing dogwoods, such as Cornus sanguinea ‘Anny’s Winter Orange’. Plain green Pachysandra terminalis contrasts well with yellow stems, as long as the ground is not too wet. Vinca minor is also successful, but the small leaves are less reflective and colourful and provide a more neutral backdrop. • Bergenias with leaves that take on rich ruby hues, such as Bergenia ‘Overture’, are stunning with red or chalky stems. For an even more striking contrast try underplanting Rubus cockburnianus ‘Goldenvale’ with the grass-like, black perennial Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’.