I love columbines. These are in a little shade garden I planted because it was such an awkward place to mow that I got tired of swearing at it every week and just turned it into a flowerbed. It's full of columbines, ferns, hosta and coral bells. I'll post a picture later this summer, once the hosta get all unfurled. The only drawback to columbines is their bloom time is very brief. They are only pretty for a couple of weeks each spring.
This year, I am experimenting with ornamental grasses in the flower bed by the patio. It is a very sunny bed and gets a lot of heat reflected from the white siding on the house and from the cement of the patio. I never seem to keep up with watering there like I should. Plus the dogs run through it and occasionally dig in it. Anything that lives there needs to be tough. I'm hoping ornamental grasses will thrive without me having to hold their hand all summer.
Pictured left to right are: hair grass "Northern Lights"; dwarf fountain grass and Lucerne "Blue Eyed Grass." They are all dwarf varieties.
This is Phoenix in the cistern. I have no idea what he is doing. He doesn't either but he does it every chance he gets. The Farmer uncapped the cistern and filled it in about 10 years ago. It has been settling ever since. Every spring, I haul dirt to level it off. This spring, I decided hauling dirt would fall under the "don't do anything extreme" warning from my cardiologist, so I'm waiting for the Farmer to do it. And waiting. And waiting.