I'll look into the Mountain laurel (Elf), Catmint. I do not want anything real tall growing there. So far, I've avoided cultivars, but that one seems really nice.
Here's another spot I would like some help with. This time I went through Prairie Moon's Plant Finder to get some ideas, but I am not sure I can envision how this will end up.
Here are two more Clematis virginiana. This is its first year's growth. I plan on trying to train this as to fill out more of the bottom. There is dappled light in the morning, but bright sun for an hour or two in the middle of the day, before being shaded from the house. So likely part shade.
After having such vivid purple from the Jackman variety of clematis before it was dug up, this looks pathetic! These clematis flowers are white and bloom in August, so I would really like some color in front of this earlier in the season. Height between about 6 inches in height to no more than 3 feet. I've got enough tallgrass prairie plants around the house. :)
Here are some ideas:
Geum triflorum (Prairie Smoke) 8 inches They are cool flowers, but I think it would be funny to have this growing in front of the "Prairie Smoke on a Rope".
Mimulus ringens (Monkey Flower) 2 feet The flowers are small, but site says the plant will become bushy.
Polemonium reptans (Jacob's Ladder) or Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-in-the-Pulpit)
Aquilegia canadensis (Columbine) I've started yanking out the hybrids we got from the nursery. I had planted them for hummingbirds, but never saw any go to them. Maybe they'll like the red??
Phlox pilosa (Prairie Phlox) 2 feet I have some of this in our prairie area. Do phloxes hybrid easily? There is creeping phlox in the front yard near this spot.
Rosa arkansana (Prairie Wild Rose) Someone mowed over my rose near the garage.
This place will help me guard it better.
I know everyone has different experiences, but I am looking for input before I take the plunge. I do not know that I will go with all of these. In my head I am thinking maybe a mix of Prairie Smoke, Columbine and one of the others. These all are known to be found naturally in Iowa.