What to plant on a ditch side


We moved three years ago to the North Cheshire area and included in our new garden is an area which has been left wild. It grew nothing but Himalayan Balsam up to ten feet high. We are in the process of taming this area, which includes a ditch with one south facing side very steep and the other side relatively shallow sloped. The steep side is patchedly covered in ivy with a few Foxgloves after the balsam has been removed, with bare areas which are obviouly going to erode. We would like to plant something on this bank, firstly to retain the soil, and secondly to provide some colour and/or foliage interest. The soil is light sandy loam.

Thanks for any advice,