Plants that do great in the Northwest
FALL COLOR: Euonymus alatus, Fothergilla, Japanese maples, katsura tree, liquidambar, Parrotia persica, and sour gum. Buy them as soon as their leaves change in autumn so you can see what you're getting.
WINTER-FLOWERING SHRUBS: Camellia sasanqua, Chinese witch hazel (Hamamelis mollis), Corylopsis, Forsythia, heath (Erica), Indian plum, ornamental hazelnut, pussy willow, Sarcococca, coast silktassel (Garrya elliptica), Viburnum x bodnantense, and V. tinus 'Spring Bouquet'.
SPRING-BLOOMING BULBS: Bluebells, crocus, daffodils, Fritillaria, grape hyacinth, irises, snowdrops, snowflakes, and species tulips. They all naturalize in the garden.
ROCK-GARDEN PLANTS: Sometimes called alpines, these re-create high-elevation flower gardens. Choices include aubrieta, basket-of-gold, Kalmiopsis, Lewisia, saxifrages, sedums, and sempervivums. Tuck them between boulders or into stone tubs.
DWARF CONIFERS: They come in a variety of forms (weeping, globular, pyramidal, spreading, and cylindrical) and colors (golden, green, bronze, blue, and silver). Use them singly or in groups.