Best of the bunch
●● Cornus mas (also known as the Cornelian cherry)
This deciduous shrub from southern Europe and west Asia provides interest for much of the year, but it really comes into its own in winter; when it produces clusters of bright yellow flowers which add some genuine pizzazz at a time when everything else is grey.
In late summer it bears red cherry-like edible fruits that can be made into preserves and, in autumn, oval leaves take on a purple tint.
Growing up to 15ft tall, Cornus mas prefers a warm, sheltered position in sun or partial shade in well-drained but moist, fertile soil.
Good cultivars include ‘Golden Glory’ and ‘Variegata’.