One way to keep the summer garden colorful without using much water is to plant flowers in containers. The amount of water can be easily controlled because, rather than quenching an entire yard, green thumbs need water only one square foot or so of potting mix. A two-gallon watering can is usually sufficient for four 18-inch-diameter pots. (Containers shouldn't be much smaller, especially when several types of flowers are combined in one pot.) Using new potting materials with soil polymers, which are little granules that swell to store moisture, can further reduce watering needs.
All of the flowers here can be planted now and will bloom for most of the summer, some lasting right into the fall. The pots were planted by Roger's Gardens in Corona del Mar, a nursery noted for its container plantings. Like many of today's full-sized gardens, these pots hold carefully selected summer bloomers--some annuals, some short-lived perennials. Each pot is, in effect, a miniature garden plot.