I spent much of this past weekend planting - such encouraging weather, and the soil is finally warming up. I put in scarlet runner beans, a second seeding of lettuces and arugula. But also some very cool plants that are new to me.... Most are produced by wholesaler Log House Plants near Eugene, who sells their plants at Bayview Nursery on Whidbey Island, and also many Seattle area nurseries.
I planted scads of bronzey-purple New Zealand rock lily (Arthropodium candidum 'Purpureum') which is perfect for trimming the edge of beds or in pots - it's color and texture (wider blades, short and thick) looks great in pots beneath the filmy haze of fresh Japanese maple leaves. It's evergreen, and has tiny white flowers. I have no idea if it'll be mannerly or invasive - I guess I'll find out....I found this at City People's Garden Store in the Madison Valley.
Carexes are the most useful of little grasses, and C. siderosticha 'Lemon Zest'stays golden all summer when planted in some shade. It 's an evergreen clumping sedge that grows only a foot tall - I planted a little hedge of them along the edge of one of my raised beds.
I've always loved Black-eyed Susan vines, and am enchanted this year with the new (to me, anyway) Thunbergia 'African Sunset' and 'Charles Star' in colors more subtle and interesting than the usual bright yellow with black centers. That's 'African Sunset' below - the copper and terra-cotta color is really more vivid than in the photo; 'Charles Star' is a warm, rich yellow-orange. They grow readily, twine around a trellis or arbor supports, and bloom all summer. I planted a bunch to grow up tall hog-wire screens; they'd be great to disguise a chain-link fence, or for near-instant screening.