These were the first shrubs we bought. We love their color and structure and the fact that they are perennials we don't have to worry much about. They are mainly a deep purple, but new leaves come out green, and sometimes there is blue, red, and magenta all in one bush. In the fall, they turn vibrant red, and the leaves fall. We've had to learn the hard way that they really like to be on mounds so that they don't have to sit in water.
We haven't had this very long, but it seems it likes part shade/part sun. I've read they'll die back a bit during the summer, so we'll just have to see. The flowers are amazing though, shaping just like a heart with a little "drop" hanging from the bottom. The leaves too are very beautiful, a deep green.
We grow basil for its leaves in cooking, especially Italian dishes. I'm trying out two different ones this year, the classic sweet basil and this spicy globe basil. The differences are in their names, although both definitely taste basilish. Basil also makes really pretty white flowers, but I'm trying to keep them back since it can make the plant bitter.
...Breath of Heaven
These perennials look so soft, especially with their tiny light pink star flowers that come out in the spring. I love them because they remind me of ferns but are hardier and can stand more sun. We have two growing under our green maple, and they are really happy. They do get big - up to 5 feet - but you can trim them to keep them smaller.
At first, I hated the idea of grasses around the yard. But, as I saw how difficult it is to actually make a yard look "filled in," I began to welcome the idea and even starting loving these little puffs. People around here like them because they're drought-tolerant and easy to care for. Plus, this dwarf variety stays cute and small.
Our bougainvilleas are just blooming, but in the summer, they are a sight to be seen! They're covered in their bright pink "flowers" (which aren't really the flowers) and stay beautiful all season. Around here, they are tricky to have at first, though. We aren't sure if a couple of them are going to return since they definitely don't like the frost. It seems once they're established, though, they can handle a bit of cold.