Some of the best winter colour is not in flowers but in bark,foliage and stems like these amazing varieties of cornus (dog wood)
Cornus is easy to grow surviving in heavy clay, poorly aerated soils and some degree of winter water logging. I found it a very tolerant plant to actual dog damage as I did have 4 excitable border collies charging round my garden here at the Nurseries. Cornus survived where other plants diminished.
Whilst it is a strong plant the trick to keeping it nice is to prune it very hard and don't let the stems cross. It doesn't need fussy pruning I have often hacked it back at the wrong time of growth and its so strong it will be fine.
Mixing varieties can create a wonderful display of stems. It also makes a good hedge or mixed hedge. Apparently its very good for wild life. Biodiversity schemes recommend it for door mice,
Mid Winter Fire
alba sibirica Variegate (foliage)
Mid Winter Fire (foliage)
alba sibirica (in flower)
The dog wood was original called dagger wood as we made daggers from it. Over time it has become mispronounced.