Dogwoods will check off a lot of the boxes on your list of plant wants: flowering, fall color, low maintenance, edible fruit (but usually left for birds). These small sized trees are valuable on most properties as an accent, specimen, or in groupings.
(The flower is the green center, surrounded by colorful petal-like bracts)
Cornus florida is our native dogwood. The tree has been chosen to be the State Tree of Missouri, North Carolina’s State Flower, and Virginia made Cornus florida both their State Tree and State Flower.
There’s no one definitive story for how dogwood got their common name. One is that the bark was used in Europe to make a treatment for mange. The name may also be derived from a Celtic word, dagge, meaning a certain type of sharp tool. The wood of Cornus genus is strong and hard, and was once used to make tools. Dagge wood may have turned into dogwood over the years. Another is that the Cherokee had a legend about a race of spirits named the Dogwood People. They were kind people who lived in the forest and watched over the trees.
Cornus kousa, or Kousa dogwood, is native to Asia. Kousas can be grown as trees or shrubs.
(Foreground: light pink dogwood Background: pink dogwood, white dogwood)
Flower/bract color: green/white, white, light pinks, pinks