Buy Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata' from Sarah Raven: If you were dispatched to the moon and allowed to take two or three scents with you, you might choose this one. A lovely variegated-leaf shrub with pink flowers from February.
Epimedium ‘Black Sea’ - From late winter to early spring Epimedium 'Black Sea' produces a profusion of small, delicate-looking flowers on the tips of thread-thin red stalks. The inner petals are primrose yellow, the outer, paler sepals are washed with orange-red. New leaves soon follow and mature to attractive blue-green. The most remarkable feature of the foliage is the inky purple-black coloring that 'bleeds' into each leaf with the onset of cooler temperatures and frost.
Alum Root, Heuchera maxima. Dry shade. Native to the Channel Islands off coast of Southern California. Foliage clumps grow 1–2 ft. high, spreading 3–4 ft. or more in time. Lobed dark green leaves have a roundish heart shape. Hundreds of small whitish orpinkish blossoms appear oneach narrowly branched 1 1/2–2 1/2-ft. stem in early spring.Good casual groundcover.