Vinca Enjoy vinca's colorful blooms from spring through fall. The blue, purple, or white flowers provide a colorful accent to the shiny, green foliage. This easy, adaptable groundcover tolerates a wide range of soil conditions. Note: It can also grow very quickly -- to the point some gardeners call it invasive. Name: Vinca minor Growing Conditions: Part to full shade and moist, well-drained soil Size: 8 inches tall Zones: 4-9
Lamb's ears..Lamb's ears usually wins the award for softest garden plant. Its silvery leaves are coated in soft hairs, making it beautiful and also pest resistant (who'd want a mouthful of that?). It's a great groundcover for hot, dry spots -- especially slopes. Name: Stachys byzantina Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil Plant Size: To 18 inches tall and 24 inches wide Zones: 4-8
While most gardeners are familiar with the big-blooming annual sunflowers, it's the perennial selections that are the true garden gems. 'Lemon Queen', for example, produces gorgeous creamy-yellow blooms in late summer and early fall. Name: Helianthus 'Lemon Queen'. Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil. Size: To 8 feet tall. Zones: 4-9
Fluted zinc Planters, Gardenista Above: For US shoppers, Vence Planters are available in two sizes (with diameters of 12.5 inches of 16 inches) and are sold in pairs; they are available for $79.95 and $99.95 respectively from Williams-Sonoma. Color and wax are applied to the ribbed surfaces to make them look aged.