Lois J. de Vries' Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Shrubs for the Mid-Atlantic.
It grows tall enough to form a great evergreen background and the colorful spring flowers are very welcome after a long winter. They're also easy-care.
Prolongs the spring flowering season by flowering right after the rhodies. A good second-layer beneath the rhodies; lots of color choices; easy-care.
Interesting leaves and stems. I don't especially like the mop-heads, but I do really like the panicle-types such as Pinky Winky and Oak-leaf. Blooms last from mid-summer to frost. Easy-care.
Another good background plant, many native to our area. Interesting variety of leaves and flowers. Low-maintenance.
Fetterbush - Pieris
Slow-growing, variety of leaf colors; pretty tiny flowers; may rebloom in fall. Easy to grow, needs no attention. Can grow quite large, so be careful where you plant it.