I feel the same way about swamp sunflower, which right now is getting all the attention in my garden. It is, bar none, the most spectacular plant in town right now. But I take no credit for it whatsoever.
For those of us in the Southeast, swamp sunflower (zones 6-9) may just be the perfect plant. It's beautiful, it's low maintenance, and it's pretty much disease-free. Plant it in full sun, give it decent soil, and make sure it gets some water during dry spells, and you'll look like a pro. Put it in a soggy spot, and you'll look like a genius.
Perhaps swamp sunflower would be less eye-catching if it flowered in the summer, when there is a lot more competition in the bloom department. But here in Cary, it starts flowering in early October and continues through a good portion of the month. Yes, chrysanthemums and asters are everywhere, and plenty of summer-blooming plants are getting their last words in. But nothing else is screaming yellow and seven feet tall.
If this plant has any drawback, it is that those seven-foot stalks never stay up in the wind or the rain. Generally I like the sprawling, natural look, but even I find swamp sunflower quite disheartening in a horizontal state - after all, its dramatic height is the whole point. I've learned my lesson and now I stake it, using a galloping horse version of the cat's cradle that involves five foot tall tomato stakes and green garden twine. It's not pretty, but it works, and it's virtually invisible when the flowering begins.
And what flowering it is. Amazingly, swamp sunflower looks great with almost everything in bloom right now - Mexican bush sage, asters, ornamental grasses, you name it. You can plunk it practically anywhere and voilà - a great plant combo is born. For Southeastern gardeners, it just doesn't get much better than this.