Posted: 31/08/2012 at 09:09
Hardy geranium macrorhizum is evergreen except in very harsh winters and the scented foliage turns red in the cold. Pale pink or white flowers in late spring are an added bonus. I find that phlomis russelliana are evergreen thought they can look tatty in a very bad winter (but mine are worse than UK). Thge leaves are a soft sage green and there are tall spikes of soft yellow flowers in early summer followed by interesting seed heads for birds and frosted winter interest. It will spread if happy and will need controlling.
Hellebores are evergreen and have flowers in late winter/early spring which is when old foliage should be cut off to show the flowers and allow the new foliage through. carex buchannaii is a bronze evergreen grass that will sway beautifully in teh wind and not spread madly. It just needs combing through with gloved hands in spring.
Don't just think of foliage either. Russian sage will give aromatic blue/green foliage throughout the spring and summer plus blue flowers which insects love and then striking bare white stems in winter. Cut these back every spring to promote new growth and maintain the colour and vigour.
As for giving you a plan, the best thing is to buy the plants you like and which will suit the soil and aspect and then place them in the border in their pots then move them around till you have pleasing combiations of toning or contrasting colour shape and form. Definitely a good idea to match the planting in the pots for your bench as long as they will have equal sun and shade. If not, plant to suit available light.