Native to the Mediterranean, artichoke is a perennial in Zones 10-11 and sometimes overwinters in Zones 8-9. Elsewhere, it’s an annual and needs a long growing season to pump out those tasty buds. Slugs go after young plants, and aphids and earwigs attack at the later growing stages. Consistent watering is key to plump, tasty buds.
An added plus to good fall color in the landscape is being able to preserve that color for late-season bouquets. The blooms of strawflower come in yellow, orange and red and many variations in between, and the color holds even after drying. Strawflower is an annual or short-lived perennial (in USDA Zones 8 to 11).
Fountain grass comes in a variety of sizes, as well as leaf and seedhead colors. It gets its name from the fact that the flowers and seedheads erupt from the arching mound of leaves like water from a fountain. This duet of fountain grass features (left) Prairie Winds ‘Desert Plains’ fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) and (right) purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’). ‘Desert Plains’ is hardy in Zones 5-9 and grows roughly 4 feet tall and wide. The bottlebrush flowers start dusky purple and fade to tan. Purple fountain grass is an annual in most regions (Hardy in Zones 9-11), growing up to 3 feet tall and wide. Cut it down after frost once leaves turn brown.