Sweet fern Comptonia peregrina Zones: 2-8 2-3ft tall & wide Full sun-partial shade; poor-moderately fertile, moist yet well-drained soil Space 3 feet apart for coverage in 2 seasons. Sweet fern partners with special bacteria that convert gaseous nitrogen into ammonia, which the plant uses as fertilizer that helps sweet fern thrive in hot, dry, nutrient-poor soils, which few other plants can tolerate. Couple this with salt, wind, & cold tolerance and you have a supremely tough ground cover.
Bluebeard Shrub. This shrub is a treat in late summer when it bears its airy clusters of beautiful blue blooms. It's extra-easy to grow, too, laughing off all but the worst heat and drought. As an added bonus, birds and butterflies love it. Bluebeard shrub makes a great cut flower, too. Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil Size: To 4 feet tall Zones: 5-9
Japanese Forest Grass (Halonechloa macra ‘Aureola’) Green & yellow variegated blades emerge in early spring, quickly growing into a mounding waterfall. Although it’s recommended as grass for shade,can be successful in sunnier locations, if well watered. In fall tinged with shades of red then dies down for winter.Zones 4 to 9 Average, moisture-retentive soil Partial shade more green soft yellow in sun 2' tall & 3' wide Deer resistant Plant Spring or fall