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Big pots as quick and colorful summer showoffs.

Big pots as quick and colorful summer showoffs When in drought, do as gardeners in Mediterranean climates have always done--let the edges go a bit, and focus your effort and water on a few big show plants in pots. It's a good idea even when water is plentiful. The culture that gave us the word patio intended it as a place for easy living. Shown are five choice candidates--long-blooming and long-lived flowering shrubs. In pots, all benefit from ample water; oleander can get by with less. For less than $20, you can buy a sizable blooming shrub. For about $5, you can buy one in a gallon can; feed and water it regularly, and its size will surprise you by fall. With good care and frost protection, plants like these should last many years. Check the Sunset Western Garden Book for the choices best suited to your climate. Brufelsia grows best in coastal climates; the others bloom even more heavily inland than you see here. In mild areas, most of these may bloom into November. But once weather gets cold, their appearance ranges from plain to awful. Put them in a frost-sheltered pocket that is out of sight. Remember to keep soil damp. For dense foliage and bloom, prune angel's trumpet, bush bougainvillea, and brufelsia hard just before new growth resumes in spring. For plants uncommon outside urban areas, mail-order angel's trumpet (Brugmansia, also sold as Datura) from Logee's Greenhouses, 55 North St., Danielson, Conn. 06239 (catalog $3). Order brunfelsia (B. pauciflora `Macrantha') from Weidner's Begonia Gardens, 695 Normandy Rd., Leucadia, Calif. 92024 (send a stamped, self-addressed envelope for a price list).

Don't skimp on pot size The bigger the pot, the easier it is to keep plants moist and blooming. Those used here are all 14 inches or more in diameter. Then sit back and enjoy the climate that makes our region famous. There will be ample time and water to garden more vigorously another year.

PHOTO : For instant sparkle that lasts all summer, try hibiscus. In 15-inch pots, these are

PHOTO : double-flowered `Crown of Bohemia', single `Brilliant'

PHOTO : For fast results: repot a 5-gallon-size hibiscus (about $16) already in bloom

PHOTO : Tough and compact, `Petite Salmon' oleander will need more water with phlox to fill out

PHOTO : base. Dwarf oleanders also come in pink, white, red

PHOTO : For a shady spot, brunfelsia is worth searching for. Its 3-inch flowers remain a rich,

PHOTO : clear purple throughout bloom; plant is loaded in spring and fall, with a smattering in

PHOTO : summer. Water and feed often

PHOTO : Bush-type bougainvillea `Crimson Jewel' stays less than 2 feet high, 3 feet wide in pots.

PHOTO : Other good choices are `Rosenka' and hardier `Hawaii'

PHOTO : Angel's trumpet is as tall as entrance; pinch to hold height and density. It can also have

PHOTO : peach or white flowers
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jun 1, 1988
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