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Spangled with dew in the morning or after a light shower, the silvery flower panicles of feathergrasses light up a garden. Fine-textured Mexican feathergrass dances at the slightest puff of wind, providing movement like a billowing wave. The tall panicles of giant feathergrass also catch the breeze and are so airy that they can be positioned in front of more substantial plants as a "see-through" companion. It may self-seed to the point of becoming a nuisance.
1 to 3 feet
4 feet wide
plant Feather grass with
False sunflowers are easily confused with perennial sunflowers, but they have the advantage of being more compact (less floppy) and blooming earlier so you can have more sunflowerlike flowers longer. Their brilliant yellow single, semidouble, or fully double flowers bloom over many weeks. They make excellent cut flowers. Tall varieties may require staking. Divide the plants every couple of years to ensure vigor.
Sedums are nearly the perfect plants. They look good from the moment they emerge from the soil in spring and continue to look fresh and fabulous all growing season long. Many are attractive even in winter when their foliage dies and is left standing. They're also drought-tolerant and need very little if any care. They're favorites of butterflies and useful bees. The tall types are outstanding for cutting and drying. Does it get better than that? Only in the fact that there are many different types of this wonderful plant, from tall types that will top 2 feet to low-growing groundcovers that form mats. All thrive in full sun with good drainage. Ground cover types do a good job of suppressing weeds, but seldom tolerate foot traffic. Some of the smaller ones are best grown in pots or treated as houseplants.
Stoke's aster is pretty in the garden, but it's so wonderful for attracting butterflies and as a cut flower, you could grow it for those two purposes alone. As a bonus, its evergreen foliage shows off the lavender blue (or pink, white, or yellow) cornflower flowerheads well. Excellent at the front of sunny or lightly shaded borders, or in cutting gardens, Stoke's aster prefers light well-drained sol that does not dry out. Deadhead to prolong bloom time.