Answer: There are many different plants you could use. The best approach may be to select just one or two and keep it simple yet elegant. You could use purple leafed sand cherry, the dogwoods Cornus kousa or Cornus florida, mugo pine, junipers (especially Juniperus procumbens nana), and Japanese iris (Iris ensata) for example. Since Japanese maples are not reliably winter hardy in zone 5 you might consider one of the elegant new black leafed elderberries such as Sambucus "Black Lace" or "Black Beauty" as a substitute. Enjoy your garden!
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