Above: First photo, Virginia Bluebell. These are native to North America, and as you can see, have a unique character, in the shape and thickness of the leaves, and the color combinations of purple, magenta, and sky blue. If you order a few rhizomes to plant in fall, they’ll spread. Second photo, Veronica, a short creeping variety, but I don’t know the name. It did okay before I added a stepping stone next to it, and now it’s delighted. That’s often the case, when you have a perennial that needs a boost. Try adding a stone, so the roots are kept moist and sheltered. Third photo is Pulmonaria, variety Trevi Fountain, I think. The flowers are actually cobalt blue, but the camera flash drained them out.
Red Poppy Anemones are a great accent in early spring, a hue you normally get only in tulips, but blooming low and up-facing like wildflowers. Sellers class them with bulbs, and they can be ordered to plant in fall. I’ve seen them rated for zone 7, but on mine the leaves came up during winter, they survived the bomb cyclone in December, and overall have been very hardy (in 6b).
One of my plans this year is to grow lots of silver-leaved plants. I started seed for Wooly Lamb’s Ears, Artemisia, Dusty Miller, Dichondra, and Silver Sage, above. As you can see, Silver Sage is a more fantastic plant than I’d expected. What a hairdo!
Another plan I have is to make my front yard into a bee lawn. It typically has a lot of muddy bare spots, so I’m putting in Creeping Thyme. Look lower left, and you’ll see how the thyme seedling is growing a root at the node nearest the pot (which contains Wooly Lamb’s Ear). I’ll be able to divide each plant into several more and get them placed abundantly.
Finally, a sweetgum log I’m using as the understructure of a pathway sprouted this garden made up of lichens. The reason they’re so dimensional is, I believe, that the sweetgum was fresh cut last year, and has a lot of sugary sap still embedded in its fibers.