Each year the Perennial Plant Association highlights a perennial plant that fits the criteria for plant of the year. Winning plants are widely adapted, have multiple seasons of interest, are low maintenance, and are easily propagated. The winner for 2009 is variegated hakone grass (Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola').
Hakone grass is a mounding plant that grows 12 to 18 inches tall and up to 2 feet wide. It's hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9 and grows best in full sun in the North and in part shade in the South on well-drained, moist soil. The most striking feature is the yellow and green variegated leaves that are tinged with pink in fall. This grass works well as a ground cover planted close to a walkway or sitting area where you can enjoy the undulating leaves as they blow in the wind.
For more information on this perennial of the year, go to: Perennial Plant Association.