This is the first year I've grown this plant. It's called Blush Euphorbia. It's a dainty little plant with all of these delicate blooms all over it. And it blooms like crazy all summer long. It has dark green leaves with tones of burgundy and red. I have found it to be a fantastic "filler" plant for a container. Unfortunately, it is not perennial in my zone but that's okay, it's going right back on my shopping list for next spring.
Blush Euphorbia likes full sun, is heat tolerant, and grows to about 12 inches high. I think it would be a great filler in almost any mixed container planting. Maybe next year I'll put it with a plant that only produces foliage, like heuchera.
I read that Blush Euphorbia was recognized for Excellent Container Performance in 2010 at the University of Colorado. I wholeheartedly agree with that honor.
I have a couple of plants in my container garden that put on their own little show this time of year. One is my "Pee Wee" Oakleaf hydrangea. The blooms start out a creamy white in spring and summer. By mid-summer, the blooms begin to turn a beautiful shade of burgundy and by the end of September, the leaves follow suit. This plant has been one of my best investments.
It's worth mentioning that even with a name like "Pee Wee", it's not so wee. I have it in a huge, lightweight composite pot and the shrub is now pretty huge. It's about 5 feet high and has a spread about equal that amount. It comes back bigger and better every year. It loves full morning sun and is extremely low maintenance. So if you have the space and the proper conditions, I highly recommend it.
Even though I add more perennials to my garden each year, I always leave plenty of space for annuals. Here's why: Annuals provide a constant burst of color all season long. They bloom and bloom again--they give it their all until the end of the season when they expire from sheer exhaustion. They don't come back the following year (at least not in my zone) so if I want the same show, I have to go out and buy new the next season. When you combine annuals and perennials in the same container, you are virtually guaranteed that something interesting will be going on the entire season. You can count on the perennials returning next year (make sure they are hardy in your zone) and you can change things up by filling the space left by the previous year's annual with a different type of annual.
Here's one of my favorite types of annuals, the geranium. I tend to avoid the traditional geranium colors like white and red. Although those, planted in quantity, can make quite a statement. I lean towards colors like this one and I especially like the variegation. I don't know the name of this geranium because it didn't come with a plant tag. I have it planted in a container with herbs--sage and thyme--both of which are perennial.
Variety is what makes a garden interesting. I love having different types of grasses in my container garden. I have one container with Purple Fountain Grass, another with Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass, and an iron urn planted with this--Hakonechloa. I've had this plant in the same urn for about 4 years. It's a native of Japan and is perennial to zone 5 so I've been able to rely on its return every year. It gets full morning sun in my garden which brings out the golden color of the blades. It grows to about 18" tall and has a cascading habit that is wonderful, but it gets even better when a breeze comes through.
Who says you need to have flowers in a container garden? I could see getting a few different grasses (or even several of the same type), planting them in fantastic containers, strategically positioning them on your deck or having them flank your front entry, and then calling it a day.