You had me at "Fireworks". ---- Pennisetum Rubrum "Fireworks" Looks like something from a Dr Suess book! Pennisetum Rubrum is my favorite grass, I wish it was a perennial around here, I'll have to remember to get some for around he house this year.
Golden Japanese Forest Grass I really cannot get over Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola', zones 5 to My favorite is the variegated variety. I planted mine under a Japanese maple, and the contrast was genius and it has so much movement.
Zebra Mallow (Hollyhock) is a heat and drought tolerant perennial that will flower from summer until frost. They are easy to grow, self seed, and attract butterflies. They grow in sun to part shade and get tall.
Think I will try this. Candytuft is a low growing border plant that spreads nicely. It is an ever green all winter long : ) I planted 5 of them last summer. It is just as you described. Grows great here in the NW.