An easy-to-grow ground cover, lambs ears has soft, fuzzy leaves. Their silvery tone makes them a great foil for just about any plant in the garden. Note, though: Lambs ear can spread aggressively in rich soil. Name: Stachys byzantina Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil Size: To 18 inches tall Zones: 4-8

Enjoy the cheery yellow blooms of sundrops all the way from spring to early fall. This vigorous perennial takes heat and drought like a champion. Note, though: It can become aggressive in the garden, especially if you have rich soil. Name: Oenothera macrocarpa Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil Size: To 6 inches tall Zones: 5-8

One of the best flowers many gardeners have never heard of, globe thistle produces round, metallic-blue flowers though the summer. These flowers are perfect for drying and using in dried-flower projects and other crafts. Plus, its a cinch to grow! Name: Echinops Blue Globe Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil Size: To 4 feet tall Zones: 4-9

Its hard not to love purple coneflower. This resilient perennial blooms much of the summer producing tons of mauve-purple blooms that hold up really well when cut. Or, if you leave them in the garden, theyll attract scores of butterflies. Name: Echinacea purpurea Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil Size: To 5 feet tall Zones: 3-9

A tough, but sadly underused perennial, amsonia produces clusters of sky-blue flowers in late spring. Its not just a one-season wonder, though. In autumn, its foliage turns brilliant shades of gold — enough to rival many of the trees when they put on their fall finery. Name: Amsonia tabernaemontana Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil Size: To 2 feet tall Zones: 3-9

The term xeriscaping was first coined by the Denver Water Board and has been used to describe landscaping methods that will reduce irrigation needs and maximize the use of natural precipitation. In this front yard, drought-resistant plants are staged around boulders that help block runoff after storms.