Azara lanceolata – Narrow-Leaf Azara is a hard to find evergreen shrub that is native to Chile and Argentina. It features arching branches covered in thin, dark green serrated leaves and showy clusters of vanilla-scented bright yellow blooms from mid to late spring. Best grown in part sun in the shelter of wall or forest edge. Grows 10-15′ high and wide (where hardy). Hardy to zone 8.
Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ (syn. ‘Arabicus’, ‘Ebony Knight’, ‘Black Dragon’) – Although Black Mondo Grass looks exotic and is initially slow to establish, it is not particularly difficult to grow. It features reliably evergreen jet-black blades with bell-shaped pale purple (nearly white) summer flowers, followed by dark blue berries. AGM. Grows 8″ high by 12″. Zone 6.
Cynara cardunculus – A bold herbaceous perennial that resembles a stately thistle and an RHS Award of Garden Merit winner. Cardoon bears large spiked purple blooms in summer over spiny silvery-grey foliage. Best grown in full sun with good soil drainage. The blanched flower buds (artichoke replacement) and leaf stalks are edible. Grows 5-6′ high by 4′ wide. Hardy to zone 7.
Nymphaea ‘Panama Pacific’ – This is one of the best and hardiest of the tropical waterlilies to grow in coastal BC. It features highly fragrant day-blooming violet-purple flowers (4-6″ wide) from July to September, borne over mottled olive green leaves. Overwinter the tuber indoors in wet sand kept at 50-60F. Grow in full sun at 6-18″ water depth. 3-8′ spread. Hardy to zone 9.
Hibiscus moscheutos LUNA RED (syn. ‘Balhibred’) – An herbaceous or perennial hibiscus with huge burgundy-red flowers (about 8″ wide) from mid summer through to autumn. New growth tends to emerge from the base of last year’s stems, so prune back dead wood at this time. It can also be grown from seed. Grows 2-3′ high by 18-24″ wide. Hardy to zone 5.