Helleborus niger subsp. macranthus (syn. ‘Maximus’) – This RHS Award of Garden Merit winner is a subspecies of Christmas Rose with blue-green to grey-green foliage. The other prominent feature of this evergreen perennial are the large (3.5″) pure white flowers, that fade to pink. Native to northern Italy and parts of Slovenia. Grows 12″ high by 18″ wide. Hardy to zone 4.
Arachniodes simplicior ‘Variegata’ – The Variegated East India Holly Fern is an evergreen plant which adds contrast to our often dull shade gardens. It features glossy finely-cut deep green fronds with individual leaflets accented with a central yellow stripe. The fronds can also be harvested and used as greens in floral arrangements. Grows 18″ high and wide. Hardy to zone 7.
Meconopsis grandis – The Himalayan Blue Poppy is notoriously difficult to grow, but when planting a containerized specimen be sure to not allow it to bloom in its first year (diverts energy away from root growth). The sky blue flowers are often tinted with violet and are borne in early summer. Grows best in open shade with rich, well-drained soil. Grows 2-3′ high by 18-24″ wide. Z5.
Tricyrtis formosana ‘Samurai’ – A variegated Toad Lily with deep green lance-shaped leaves that are thinly edged in a creamy-gold. It bears starry violet flowers generously spotted in purple with pale yellow throats – usually from late summer to autumn. ‘Samurai’ is a herbaceous perennial, with the species being native to Taiwan. Grows 12 to 18″ high and wide. Zone 5.
Dicentra eximia – Fringed Bleeding Heart is a native of the eastern United States with variable white, pink or rosy-purple heart-shaped blooms borne from late spring into summer. The finely cut grey-green foliage is quite fern-like and is not prone to summer dormancy. Tolerates some sun but thrives in partial shade. Grows 15-18″ high by 18″ wide. Hardy to zone 4.