Posted: 24/07/2015 at 14:46
One of the sambucus family with golden foliage and white flowers or deep purple with pink flowers. Very hardy and attractive with or without flowers. Deciduous.
Eleagnus - evergreen with variegated silvery or golden streaks in the foliage.
Aucuba - evergreen with golden spots in the foliage and red berries.
Cornus alba sibirica - bright red stems in winter, good foliage colour in spring and autumn and flowers in between. Needs pruning every spring to keep to size and reproduce the fresh red stems. Elegantissima has mahogany stems and variegated leaves.
Salix - several forms with orange or black stems that need pruning like the cornus. Good for a moist location.
I wouldn't go for hypericum. It can be a thug when it starts to spread. Ceanothus are lovely but are not reliably hardy so that depends on how cold you get.
Whatever you plant you will need to give them a very good soaking before you go away and keep them watered regularly after planting and until they go dormant in autumn. Make sure you dunk them in a bucket of water till no more air bubbles appear before you plant them.