Sempervivums show their best colors in late winter and early spring. They are interesting to me all year because if their interesting forms and habits, which is fortunate because they do need a bit of close weeding. They are best planted in a sunny spot near the door where you can enjoy them as you rush inside on a cold winter day. I ended up shifting mine to an out of the way spot that does not attract fall leaves which block the sun and rot the plants.
This photo was taken on May 5, 2016 after several days of wind and hard rain. Black has taken on some storm debris but cleanup will be quick when the weather allows.
Syringa pubescens subsp. patula 'Miss Kim' is a well behaved shrub for the spring garden. She grows to about head high and produces a very nice scent. Lilacs are especially useful because they grow less densely than other shrubs and allow plants in the background to peek through.
Plants like this are known as "scrim" plants. The term scrim comes from theater, that thin curtain that hides the scene until it is backlit. In the garden scrim plants can create a hint of mystery and depth. Garden experts write of "borrowing the view" of neighboring vistas, but if you can borrow from your own landscape so much the better.
In my own garden, Monarda has colonized the base of the lilac. Later in the season the Monarda will grow up to the Lilac's leaves, creating a more solid barrier. I enjoy this changing progression, and in all honesty if the two bloomed at the same time it would be an epic clash.