Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
If you are interested in combining plants in containers, Sunset has an excellent publication: Container Gardening (Sunset Books, 2004; $14.95). It contains everything you ever wanted to know about color, plant selection, growing requirements, container types, and placement. For example, you wouldn't want to plant the "spillers" on the inside of the pot; they belong along the edge so that they can cascade over the side for maximum effect. Little tips like this turn average pots into stunning show-stoppers. They even suggest vegetable combinations you can grow in containers. As a matter of fact, the container garden I mentioned in the column is pictured on page 92, although they replaced the calceolaria with orange snapdragons. I guess I wasn't the only one who thought it beautiful!
Favorite or New Plant
Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers', sometimes sold as A. meyeri, is an extremely hardy member of the ornamental asparagus family. It is a perennial plant that will grow larger and larger as it gets older. The stiffly upright stems are covered with needle-like leaves that give the plant an animal-like appearance. The stems are excellent to use in flower arrangements.
Although this plant will grow in the sun, it retains a beautiful green color if planted in partial shade. Regular watering will promote lush, vigorous growth. Quarterly applications of fertilizer will promote flowers that eventually turn into small, red berries along the stems.
A most hardy and attractive plant for containers.