Containers full of plants can brighten patios, courtyards and balconies. These situations are often sheltered and sunny, so use large containers which retain more moisture than smaller ones. Small trees, conifers or shrubs in small groups, together with perennials, will give long term intrest in shape and foliage, with periods of flowering. For colourful displays, plant spring-flowering bulbs, followed by petunias and tagetes, which flower throughout
Buxus sempervirens (Common box)
Bushy, rounded shrub or small tree with glossy, dark green leaves.
Myrtus communis (Common myrtle)
Evergreen, bushy shrub with aromatic, glossy, dark-green foliage. Fragrant white flowers from mid-spring to early summer. H & S 3m (10ft)
Santolina (Cotton lavender)
Compact, rounded shrub producing white-woolly young shoots, densely covered with slender, grey-white leaves. Bright yellow flowerheads in mid and late summer. H 50cm (20in) S 1m (3ft)
Senico (Shrubby species)
Evergreen, bushy, dense shrub with oval, dark green leaves. Freely produced flat heads of small white blooms open during late winter and spring.
H & S 3m (10ft)
Cordyline australis and cultivars (Cabbage Palm)
Slow-growing, evergreen, splarsly branched tree. Each stem is crowned by a rosette of strap-shaped leaves.
Ficus (Fig) most
Ilex aquifolium and cultivars (common holly)
Evergreen and much branhcd. Has variably shaped, wavy, sharply spined, glossy dark green leaves and red berries.
Laurus nobilis (Bay)
Oval, leathery, glossy, dark green leaves are very aromatic and used in cooking. Small, star shaped, pale yellow flowers in spring.
Malus (small species and cultivars)
Olea europaea (Olive)
Slow growing and evergreen with oblong grey-green leaves. Tiny, fragrant, white flowers in late summer, followed by edible fruits.
Phoenix canariensis (Canary Island date palm)
Prunus (Small species and cultivars)
Sorbus (small species and cultivars)
BULBS, CORMS AND TUBERS:
Hyacinthus orientalis and cultivars
Muscari (Grape Hyacinth)
All the small species and cultivars of:
Clematis (small varities)
Cobaea scandens (Cup-and-saucer vine)
Hedera helix and cultivars (Ivy)
Lathyrus (Everlasting Sweetpea)
Passiflora (Passion flower)
Bergenia (Elephants ears)
Primulas (Tall species and cultivars)
All rock plants are suitable, the following being particularly recommended.