With the recent warmth we have had, the gardening bug has bitten more than a few gardeners! Do remember to look at the calendar and realize it is still winter. However, you can begin to till your veggie beds and prepare to plant seeds either in the ground (if cool season crops) or indoors in preparation for the spring planting later when you set out the later summer veggies.
Mixed container plantings are very showy and can last a growing season (or longer if you choose perennial subject, small shrubs or dwarf trees) The basic idea is to not over do the plant varieties in each container. Try to limit yourself to a basic theme or palet of colors, foliage textures, etc. Then you can group several mixed containers together to make a big bold display. The advantages of doing a big display this way is that if plants do not perform to expectations, that container can simply be changed out. The same principle applies if you have things that finish their season while other plants in other containers are still going strong with a bloom/foliage display.
This idea of ‘theme’ is really simple! If you like cooking herbs, then try to do some herbs with similar cutural needs. sun plants, water lovers, all these planted together and they will grow nicely since they have similar needs for good growth! Herbs like rosemary, sage, oregano go well together both in the pan as well as the container pot. Other combinations might be basil and tomatoes. If you use some of the purple leaf basils, the display is very showy! Flowers follow the same idea… shade containers might feature ferns, fuchsias, hydrangeas, impatiens. etc. adding acorus and/or hakonechloa will bring dramatic movement and color interest besides foliage contrasts! Make the design and colors of the container part of the total display impact! you can add non plant items also, water features like self contained fountains, statuary, etc. all give that ‘personal’ touch.
It is very important to use containers with a drainage hole, if yours does not, then consider drilling one, or else use a container inside the decorative one. That inside one will hold the plant and the outer one is the decoration which is more permanent to the display.
An additional tip for the mixed veggie container, you can go ethnic! using Asian style greens, or Indian, or ????? will all add nicely to the cook in the family. Classic combos here include garlic, ginger, chilil; bok choi, cilantro, basil; cucumber, eggplant, squash/melons.