container gardens
Perennials, Herbs, and Vegetables for Containers

   Delphinium. Regal plant with tall, stately spikes in shades of blue, purple, and white. Sow seed in February or March for flowering plants the same season or purchase seedlings in spring for large containers. Seed sown in June or July will bloom the following summer. Delphiniums need sun and staking up to their heads. Try some of the gorgeous Pacific Hybrids.

   Hostas. These handsome perennials have broad leaves, green or variegated. Low growing types are ideal to edge large planters. Hardy, pest free and easy. Consider the August lily, with fragrant white bells in summer; Honey-bells, with tall spikes of purple flowers; and Thomas Hogg, with green leaves edged white.

   Phlox. Dependable for bright color in July, August, and September. Thrives in sun or partial shade and needs plenty of water. Allowed to dry out, phlox wilts and the lower leaves turn brown. Comes in pink, salmon, rose, red, scarlet, lavender, purple, and white. If tips are pinched when plants are six to nine inches high, flower heads will be more numerous, though smaller.

   Rose Mallow or Hibiscus. Spectacular for tall, bold effects. Large flowers, like single hollyhocks, appear during late summer and fall in red, rose, pink, and white. Hybrids measure nine and more inches across. Good for screening hedges. Plants like rich soil, abundant moisture, and full sun though partial shade is endured.


   Canterbury-Bells. Choice biennial, with long-lasting bells in purple, lavender, blue, pink, and white. Worth the effort, even if they die after flowering. In the spring, garden centers offer budded specimens. For dramatic compositions, group several together. You can grow your own from seed sown in June or July.

   Chrysanthemums in painted wooden tubs at the inviting gate of Mr. and Mrs. Arno H. Nehrling.

   Foxgloves. Delightful, with tall spikes covered with bells. Sow seed in June or July and winter young plants in coldframe or garden, covering with marsh hay or evergreen branches. Old-fashioned kinds have bells on one side of the spikes, but the new English hybrids have flowers all around the stems. Pot-grown rosettes are available in spring.

   Other perennials and biennials to grow are heuchera or coral-bells, veronica, showy stonecrop or sedum, helen-ium, Japanese iris, scabiosa, shasta daisy, lythrum, platy-codon or balloon flower, pentstemon, peony, Oriental poppy, monarda or bee-balm, lavender, liatris, tritoma, heliopsis, anthemis, gaillardia, gas plant, columbine, and butterfly weed. Do not overlook such rock garden plants as arabis, aubretia, basket-of-gold, snow-in-the-summer, thyme, viola, ajuga, dianthus, primrose, and auricula. (A well-illustrated catalog will help you select.)


   If you like herbs and enjoy them in cooking, you can have an herb garden in containers. Try sun-loving rosemary, marjoram, parsley, sage, fennel, mint and chives in individual pots or tubs or with other plants in large boxes. Grow with them some of the scented-leaved geraniums, like rose, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon, apple, and peppermint.