Carpinus betulus 'Columnaris Nana' (Dwarf Columnar European Hornbeam)
Given no pruning, forms a dense, dwarf, upright tree . It is useful as a walkway or border focal point or as an edging feature. A diminutive hedge could be another landscape option, with the larger-than-usual buds adding to its winter interest. Rarely available in the trade still, but very easy to grow and zero maintenance required other than irrigation.
Of refined, delicate appearance year-long, this woodland shrub from Japan makes a great substitute for witchhazel in smaller gardens. It slowly mounds up, becoming more broad than tall, and is easily maintained. Primrose yellow flowers cover the branches in early spring. Prefers moist, partially shaded borders and open woods, but tolerates a sunny spot fine: it just grows more slowly in full sun.
2-4 ft. shrub native across a broad swath in the upper latitudes of North America. Small pink flowers emerge in summer followed by white berries in the fall. Hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers. Its strong root system makes this shrub useful to control erosion on steep slopes of an embankment. Tolerates wet soils as well, so it is frequently used in riparian restoration. Used as an ornamental, easy to grow and gratifying with its persistent winter fruits. Occasionally head it back for best ornamental performance.