For unusual muted shades, landscape designer Stephen Suzman likes to use Echeveria ‘Afterglow’ (powdery pinkish lavender) and E. ‘Perle von Nürnberg’, pictured (grayish brown with a pinkish mauve tinge). Both form rosettes of overlapping leaves, 1 foot across for ‘Afterglow’, 5 to 6 inches for ‘Perle von Nürnberg’. provenwinners.com
Often called pork and beans or jellybean plant, Sedum x rubrotinctum is a 6- to 8-inch low-mounding groundcover with fat little leaves that go from bright green to red. Suzman calls it “very easy and reliable.” The glowing hues of Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ have made it a must-have for containers and perennial borders, with needlelike chartreuse to bright-gold leaves usually tipped with orange. greatgardenplants.com
A long bloomer, from midsummer through September, 2- to 3-foot Agastache ‘Black Adder’ “has the always-pleasant lavender-purple color that goes so well ‘out East.’” A magnet for butterflies and other nectar-seeking insects, the foliage and flowers also release a minty fragrance when brushed against.
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.