It's starting to feel like fall and now is a great time to take stock of your garden, make notes about what worked or didn't work this year, and make plans for next year. It's also a good time to plant. While in some ways it is more difficult to plant in fall because the garden is full and it's hard to squeeze in there and mess it up, I actually like planting and moving things in fall since everything is full size and it's easier to see how far apart things need to be. It's just too easy to plant things too close together in spring when everything is still small!
Anyway, I just added these two plants to my Adventure Garden. The garden is quite full but there are still just a few tweaks I want to make. But anything new needs to meet some pretty strict criteria to earn a place here. It has to have major structural interest and texture, and preferably an interesting foliage colour to provide contrast even when not in bloom. In fact, I didn't choose these two plants for their bloom at all.
Berberis thunbergii ‘Rose Glow’ is a shrub which is reported to do well in Calgary. I admittedly haven't had much experience with barberries - I put a couple in the front garden a few years ago but the hares kept nibbling them to the ground and the poor things never had a chance. (I've seen barberries on lists of hare-proof plants but let me tell you - they are not!) The colour of this shrub is fabulous - a mix of mottled creamy-pink new foliage, dark purple older foliage and brilliant red fall colour. I've planted it in a spot where it will be backlit in the evening and I expect it to truly glow.
Helictotrichon sempervirens (blue oat grass) is an ornamental grass which I already have a couple of, and I'm adding one more because I like it so much. It's got foliage colour, good textural contrast, winter interest, and is low maintenance... what more could you ask for in a plant, really? (OK, fragrance perhaps but that's just being greedy!)