There are few things that bring a gardener more joy than getting a great plant for free. Having an economical frame of mind myself, sedums in all their manifestations send me into paroxysms of pleasure. Here is one plant genus that just keeps on giving without asking for anything in return: no special coddling, it's drought-tolerant (arrogant, even), pest-free, happy in sun or part shade, adaptable to any soil-or even none-easy as pie to propagate, and almost without exception, beautiful to behold all year long.
Sedums hold other pleasures, too. The carpeting sorts are exceedingly tactile; with their tight mats of tiny succulent leaves, you just want to reach out and pat them lovingly.
The upright-growing perennial sorts are stalwarts of the all-season garden; their tight clumps of eye-catching foliage in early summer perfectly complement late-flowering tulips and the first flush of hosta leaves, while later in the year the corymbs (clusters of tiny flowers), from white to rosy red, appear in time to provide nectar to hummingbirds and butterflies.
Then, as the season draws to a close, the stems and flowers fade to various shades of pale biscuit and chocolate-an attractive garden feature until you get tired of looking at them and cut them down. I usually wait until springtime, when I can see the new growth pushing up from the base of the plant. Then the whole glorious process starts again.