Named for its graceful clumps of narrow foliage and nodding bottlebrush-like flowers, Pennisetum alopecuroides is “a true four-season grass that brings the feeling of the waterfront right into the garden. It catches the wind and nods its foxtail flowerheads into pools seemingly for a drink.”
A cultivar of a native switchgrass that is perfect for wet conditions and full sun, Panicum virgatum ‘Warrior’ has airy heads of reddish flowers in late summer and is relatively short for switchgrass — less than 4 feet tall. It makes an ideal see-through plant for screening without blocking the view.
With its ample sprays of small, fragrant white blossoms and lustrous dark-green foliage, Clematis terniflora (also called virgin’s bower) is “a beautiful cascading vine that grows fast and blooms in August when all the Hamptonites are in their gardens.” If it gets out of bounds, it can take a hard pruning and will easily rebound.
Adding a “nice red spark” to the garden from July through October, Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’ forms a bushy mound of handsome foliage with distinctive markings, topped by brightly colored “tails” of tiny crimson flowers.
Producing thick clumps of stems from underground stolons, Pycnanthemum muticum “creates a massed volume in the garden, and its silver-gray foliage and almost-white flowers contrast with the grasses.” A tough plant, it takes to wet or dry conditions, sun to part shade.