Though this plant combination has plenty of pretty flowers, it is primarily driven by great foliage and an interesting variety in the texture and form of the included plants. The shrubs that anchor the vignette are the smokebush and the rose of Sharon. Each of these are varieties that I've selected based on their relatively compact size—though, I would not describe them as small, they're not as massive as the more commonly-grown, traditional varieties. The Winecraft Black® smokebush is a relatively new offering selected for its smaller size. And the rose of Sharon is also a recent introduction, selected for its unusual (and highly useful) upright/columnar form and it is covered in blooms for months in late summer to early fall. The evergreen foliage that frames this vignette includes the low-growing dwarf conifer, Cedrus d. 'Feelin' Blue', the strappy upright Phormium 'Sundowner'. The Melianthus major is best described as semi-evergreen—it often looks pretty ratty by late winter and needs to be cut back hard to rejuvenate. Miscanthus s. 'Adagio' is a smaller (though not small) maiden grass that excels in the late season as its flowery plumes catch the breeze. Surround these larger plants with multiple instances of the long-blooming hardy geranium and sedum.
Exposure: Full Sun, Afternoon Sun
Water Needs: Drought-tolerant, Regular / Even, Average
Features: Attracts Pollinator, Deer Resistant, Fabulous Foliage, Varied Foliage, Texture, and Form, Warm Colors
Focus: Efficient Use of Space, Mixed Border, Saving Water
Seasons of Interest: Spring, Summer, Fall, Pleasing Seasonal Changes, Three Seasons of Interest
Maintenance Level: medium