We own a beautiful Federal style inn in the southern Berkshires and I am working on a “wow factor” area behind the inn where our guests drive in and park. The sunny, steep sloped area is very challenging with heavy clay and very moist soil. Since the area is difficult to garden, I want plants that are fairly maintenance free so I am thinking flowering bushes might be best with a lot of ground cover. [Presently, the area is simply grass.] Any suggestions as to what plants would give maximum color and impact especially during the summer months, our busiest season? Thank you!
Can’t say these will all look good together but here is a quick list of large wet feet and sun lovers with showy summer features: Salix integra ‘Hakuro Nishiki’, Hardy Hibiscus, Eupatorium maculatum, Filipendula rubra, Viburnum nudum, Itea virginica. And some smaller plants: Mazus reptans, Myosotis scorpiodes, Iris versicolor, Iris ensata.
two more: Highbush Blueberry for great fall color. and Clethra alnifolia for fall blooms and scent. Also you might try Bog Rosemary (Andromeda polifolia) for year round attractive foliage. This can be a bit tempermental, but provided your soil is acidic, it should love the spot.