Experts and BHG readers answer.
zone 3 shrubs
Here are a few suggestions for your site, which is not the easiest but not impossible either. What about Aronia melanocarpa, black chokeberry? It has small white flowers in sring followed by blackish fruits that attract birds. The cultivars 'Elata' and '
Autumn Magic' are good bets. Fall color is usually deep red. Clethra alnifolia, summersweet, is another choice. The species gets quite large but the cultivar 'Hummingbird' stays at about 5' or so. Short spires of fragrant white flowers in late summer with yellow fall foliage. Dwarf forms of Kalmia latifolia, mountain laurel, such as 'Elf' or 'Tinkerbell' might work but are quite small. White-flowered Snowdrift' is compact but not as dwarf. Symphoricarpos albus, snowberry, and S. orbiculatus, coralberry, are both nice shrubs but without much in the floral display. Their very small pinkish flowers are insignificant, but both put on an interesting display of clusters of berrries, white or coral colored, in fall that often hang on till winter. Their arching stems are attractive as well. Viburnum opulus, European cranberry bush, is another option. For your site, look for compact forms such as 'Compactum' and 'Nanum' which is a dwarf. Showy flat clusters of white flowers in late spring followed by bright red berries that persist into winter. Yellow and red fall foliage. Look for V. trilobum, American cranberry bush, although this may need to be kept within bounds by pruning. I suggest you call your local Cooperative Extension office (blue or yellow pages of the telephone directory) and ask them for more suggestions. Your local botanic garden, arboretum, or quality nursery will also have good local knowledge.