But why grow plants in containers when you can garden in the ground? Aside from the advantage of mobility, it is easy to discard and replace unsightly specimens and to avoid overcrowding, a problem in borders. At party time, new kinds can be introduced for color, foliage, or pattern effects. In addition, rare and unusual varieties and those with special soil, temperature, and light needs can be more easily cared for, while plants with small and delicate or fragrant flowers can be brought to close, range. New kinds can also be tried out before they are placed in the garden.
Immediate effects can also be achieved with pot plants. When you plan a terrace party, you can purchase flowering or foliage specimens from florists or nurserymen to use where needed. Sometimes, cut blooms of large flowers -gladiolus, peonies, delphiniums, calla and other lilies, snapdragons and birds-of-paradise-can be inserted in bottles of water and then arranged in containers to look as if they were growing. To create this impression, cover the
tops of the bottles with sphagnum or peatmoss. Or from the garden, you can lift and pot up annuals-petunias, marigolds, or ageratum-or perennials such as phlox, hardy asters, and chrysanthemums. Do this a little ahead to give plants time to adjust. Keep them in shade for the first few days and water frequently to avoid their drying out. Then arrange them for terrace decoration.
With containers, gardening chores-watering, feeding, weeding, staking, spraying, and removing faded blooms-are easily managed. To save time and energy, the wise enthusiast will keep his container plants concentrated in one, two, or three areas.
Where water is limited during the growing season, container gardening can be the solution. Hot, dry summers are responsible for the widespread practice in the Mediterranean countries, in Southern California, Arizona, and New Mexico, as well as in Mexico and other areas of similar climate. Gardeners who live where there is drought can also adopt the method, since sufficient water is usually available for pot plants.
After planting annuals in the spring, you can pot up
the leftovers as a reserve supply for failures. Where Dutch bulbs are raised in containers outdoors (they need some protection where temperatures go below freezing), they can easily be removed after flowering to avoid the unsight-liness of ripening foliage. In the North, tender tropicals can be potted and treated as summer subjects and then brought in for the winter. The same plants can remain outdoors all year-round where the climate is sufficiently warm.