Garden suggestions to go between irises and rhododendron


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I have a section near my goldfish pond that I'm trying to fill in, and I could use some advice.

I have 2 pictures attached. The second is a picture of my pond, but it's a few years old so I have a lot of plants in the pond now. To the far right of the pond is part sun (I guess you'd call it dappled?), and now I've planted Purple Heart setcreasea, followed by a hosta, followed by several irises and day lilies.

Then you'll see in the first picture that I've planted a rhododendron near the fence, which is mostly shaded under several trees. Please ignore the poison ivy on the fence... that's a work in progress :'-(

But what I'm not sure about is what I should put between the irises and the rhododendron. It's a large area of empty right now, easily 15' x 20'. I want to fill it in and make it look nice and lush, but I don't want to drown out the rhododendron, either.

I'm in zone 7A, and I'm open to planted perennials or containers. I'm starting to get too many containers to bring in over the winter, though, so I would prefer some things that survive the winter on its own.
 

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Joined
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Emerald Victoria
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Australia
What about some salvias and penstemons, from my experience they can really show off their stuff
 

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