And now, without further procrastination, The Plants:
The autumn blooming Actaea 'Black Negligee' or 'James Compton'
interchangeable plants, with outstanding dark foliage all season until it turns orange in autumn, for its amazing, strong scent of Grape Neehi pop (soda for all you non-Midwesterners). The scent fills the whole garden.
Phlox paniculata 'Nicky'
Finally, I'd need something for spring bloom, but this tree does so much more, Magnolia stellata.Not only are the flowers large and beautiful, but their tantalizing scent wafts on the breeze. The foliage is an attractive green all summer, late in summer the seed pods burst, revealing bright orange pods, and in autumn, the leaves turn golden. But the real value of this plant is in winter, when the beautiful, smooth gray bark and silky buds take center stage. Whenever it's warm enough to remove my mittens, I stroke the buds. They are almost better than the flowers. (Clearly, somebody has had too much of winter.)
What three plants would you choose?