Perennials and Ornamental Grasses

All these varieties provide a long season of color. Some also have winter interest, especially covered in ice or snow.

-'Autumn Joy' sedum (Sedum 'Autumn Joy') Best four-season perennial around. Looks great in full bloom with large clusters of tiny rose-colored flowers in late summer to early fall. Faded flower heads can be left all winter. Once cut back, fleshy green leaves are quick to add color and structure to plant beds in early spring. Grows to 2 feet tall. Full sun; hardy to -30° F.

-'Stella de Oro' daylily (Hemerocallis 'Stella de Oro') Among the longest-blooming daylilies. Clip dead flowers to get more bright yellow blooms all summer. I especially like the "Black-Eyed' variety. Grows to 2 feet tall. Full sun to partial shade; hardy to -30° F.

-Catmint (Nepeta spp.) A great summer-to-fall bloomer. Spies of fuzzy gray leaves with tiny lavender-blue flowers. Provides a similar look to lavender but much more reliable. 'Six Hills Giant' grows 3 to 4 feet tall. 'Walker's Low' is a medium-size mounder that grows 18 inches tall and works well massed. Full sun; hardy to -20° F.

-Coneflower (Echinachea spp.) This hardy perennial provides a bouquet of long-lasting pink, purple, or white flowers on long, stiff sterns in mid to late summer. Grows 3 to 4 feet tall. Full sun; hardy to -20° F.

-'Karl Foester' grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foester') My favorite ornamental grass for upright formality. Boasts archings, glossy dark green foliage 3 to 5 feet tall. In June, the upright stems bear pinkish-bronze flower heads that gradually change t golden tan. Full sun; hardy to -10° F.

-Chinese rose fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) Try this grass as an accent in less formal gardens. Grows 3 feet tall with plumelike soft pink flower clusters from July though September, when bright green leaves turn yellow and showy seed heads form. Full sun; hardy to 0° F.

'Zagreb' coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata 'Zagreb') Brilliant yellow-daisylike flowers all summer. A compact variety that can be used in either formal or casual plantings. Drought tolerant; grows 12 inches tall. FUll sun; hardy to -20° F.
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