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Southern California Gardening: Counting on Containers

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Containers can add color, interest, accent, and extra growing space to Southern California outdoor entertaining areas.

Courtyard entertaining area

By Bonnie Manion

You can be very creative with containers in courtyards, on decks, and on patios. In fact you can count on containers to add vibrant color, interest, accent, and extra growing space in your social areas. Here is my courtyard fireplace and entertaining area, surrounded with pea gravel. This doesn’t stop me from adding multiple pots and containers of all sizes and shape.

Lobelia accent the patio table.

In front of my courtyard fireplace, I have flanking large pots of perennial lacecap hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla). They provide a nice base to the fireplace patio area with their rounded green foliage, and magnificent display of summer-blooming pinkish flowers.

On the west side of the patio, I placed two ‘Tournament of Roses’ tree roses in striking gray concrete pots. I picked these up at Lowe’s a month ago and I’m simply thrilled with them. I have been looking for pots like these for a while. They are skillfully crafted concrete yet look like aged stone that’s been here for a century.

A close-up of the patio seating area shows dueling gray pots of lobelia (Lobelia) in my favorite color, French blue. These annuals need to stay moist, and like sun to part shade. Lobelia blooms all spring to fall.

Potted containers accent the opposite side of the patio courtyard

The entrance to my courtyard is on the opposite side of my fireplace patio entertaining area. I make good use of potted containers to accent my front gateway. These pots are planted in blue point juniper (Juniperus). I also use my containers and pots for growing fruit trees. I have two types of figs, ‘Mission’ and ‘Violette de Bordeaux’. Combining beauty and function with edible landscaping is smart gardening. More containers to the left of my potted fig tree are planted in accent western sword ferns (Polystichum munitum). They are very low-maintenance and lend a relaxing ambience.

You can count on containers for many uses—color, interest, accent, and growing edibles. Don’t be afraid to mix and match those uses in your entertainment areas.

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