You CAN have year-round interest in your yard. Try planting some Ilex verticillata, Winterberry Holly. This deciduous shrub gives you sprays of bright red into the winter when most other plants are not flowering and are dormant. Winterberry Holly stands out best when put alongside other plants that turn a golden color when dormant, such as Prairie Dropseed or Shining Blue Star.
This holly can be found naturally occurring in wet areas which is why the Missouri Botanical Garden tends to use it in their rainscaped areas of the parking lots (pictured above). It likes full sun to medium shade and can also handle drier soil conditions. Wildlife benefit is primarily to our resident, non-migratory birds. Birds wait to eat the berries until later in January so these berries persist until we are close to seeing the first signs of Witch Hazel starting to bloom.