Every year, All-America Selections recognizes outstanding new plants that have performed well in trial gardens around the country. During Sunset's tests of the 2006 winners last summer in Menlo Park, California, two purple beauties stood out.
Nicotiana 'Perfume Deep Purple' bears violet blooms ― a real color breakthrough (most nicotianas have pale flowers). Plants reach about 1½ feet tall in full sun.
Salvia farinacea 'Evolution' pumps out 5- to 7-inch spikes of rich purple blooms with white centers all summer; bees and butterflies love it. The plants grow to about 2 feet and thrive in containers.Park Seed (800/845-3369). www.all-americaselections.org