When I design a space, the planting plan needs to have four-season interest, meaning even in the dead of winter grasses and perennials still making the garden unique. Of course, these plants are dormant but even as they sleep they can add amazing texture and hue to a yard.
After Life in Winter
If you want flowers to still be in bloom when the snow comes in November, you will need to select from a specific list of perennials. The cooler night air of mid to late autumn will wither most corolla, so the goal is to use hardy plants that can keep their color. The easy answer for this is species from the Asteraceae family. This family is home to a world of Aster options from A. cordifolius to A. novi-belgii - all native to the US and geared for the frostier evenings of fall. Another reason this family is so much fun to use is that Echinacea is within it too.
More to Life than Summer
Everybody loves flowers in bloom, but I have to mention a couple of my favorite plants that look great dormant first. The image below is a pair of Veronicastrum virginicum.
Color is Important
The color doesn’t have to come from the plants alone. The image below shows a set of four chairs painted bright yellow around a very nice fire pit from Design within Reach. Just behind the chairs is a smokebush (Contius) ablaze in deep crimson.
Echinacea and Snow
Lastly, and perhaps the most spectacular, is Echinacea purpurea, aka coneflowers pictured below.