The new stems have the best colour. Alternatively, you can build up a framework of branches lower down, and prune back to that framework. This way you will get a bit of added height if you want to under plant the cornus.

Cornus sanguinea Midwinter Fire is good against a dark background, planted with other Cornus ie, Cornus alba Sibirica (Red stems) and Cornus flaviramea Stolonifera (Light green stems). There are several Dogwoods with brightly variegated leaves. C Elegantissima is one of the better ones, but the stem colours are not quite as good as the three suggested above.

Cornus sanguinea Midwinter Fire is suited to any soil, but will do particularly well in damp areas.

Pruning Cornus sanguinea Midwinter Fire for stem effect. :

Shrubs Main Section : Cornus alba Sibirica Best Red Stem variety: Cornus stolinifera Flaviramea - Light green stems