Dogwoods are a great understory tree that are beautiful when flowering. Whether you choose a Cornus kousa variety that bloom later in the spring and have pointed petal-like bracts, or a Cornus florida variety that are native to eastern North America, both are a great choice for drawing attention with a stunning display of flowers in the spring. If you would like something shrub-like and a little more dense and compact, Cornus alba has some great options including the Red Gnome Dogwood that has vibrant red stems and 'Elegantissima' which has variegated leaves.