Need replacement for Japanese maple
I need to replace a dead Jap map in a front garden with something other than a Jap map. Is there a shrub comparable in beauty to a red cutleaf Japanese maple? OK, maybe comparable is too ambitious, how about almost as nice?
The site is northern exposure, open shade and somewhat moist. Something taller (4-5'+) would get 1/2 day sun on upper branches. Zone 6b. It will be the focal point in the garden.
I'd like something red-leaved and interesting. All I can come up with is purple sandcherry, coppertina ninebark, and black lace elderberry, none of which are really specimen type plants for the front of the house. (I like the black lace but it probably grows too large and unruly, also its not really red but rather dark purple or black leaved).
OH, wait I also saw a red-leaved witch hazel but my husband doesn't really like this plant (and its also sorta black).
Any ideas would be great!!
P.S. A couple of days ago on a Sunday drive, I spotted an interesting looking small weeping shrub about 4' tall with red leaves that looked like it had flower buds. I was thinking it might be some kind of weeping flowering crabapple/cherry/plum. Is there such a thing? I'd seen this shrub/tree in years past and always thought it was a weeping Jap map, but this time of year with the flower buds, I wonder if its something else. Maybe I should knock on the door and ask about it.