Everyone knows of the mums. These are truly hardy mums. Chances are you wont see this for sale in the fall either. Unlike the mass produced mums that are everywhere in the fall, these will come back year after year and they only get more impressive. Here is a short list of the best
Clara Curtis – This one seems to bloom 2 or 3 times per year for me. Pink daisy like flowers. Late spring, summer, and fall. About 2-2.5′ tall.
Sheffield – About 3′ tall with large pink daisy like flowers September-Frost.
Mary Stoker- 2-3′ tall with orange/yellow daisy like blooms. September-Heavy frost. Mine keeps the flowers with red foliage after light frost.
Venus- Pinkish daisy like flowers. I lost this one, choked out by other plants.
As far as the hardy hisbiscus goes Lady Baltimore is my favorite. 6-8″ towers of pink with dark red eyes. This will bloom for about a month (late July-Late August) here in IL. More sun, more moisture the better! Does attract them nasty little Japanese beetles though. So you must have traps to catch them before they get your hisbiscus.
Kopper King: This large flowering red tinted foliage monster is a must have. Reaching a size of 5-6′ with its pale pink, red eyed flowers that bloom from Mid-July till frost seem like they wont ever stop! To have the red foliage, it needs full sun, with plenty of water, and rich organic soil.
Hibiscus Turn of The Century. A taller hibiscus (6-8′) with very interesting 3 toned flowers that tower at the back of your border! Great with miscanthus, and helianthus.
This is my favorite of the fothergillas. Found as a mutation on a Mt. Airies, this cultivar has extremely powdered blue colored foliage. Growing to be about 4-6 ft its a must have in the garden.