Creating a container display full of colorful seasonal plants is very popular, but most of my containers each have a single plant that I keep year after year and only a few are particularly showy. I guess its the collector in me, but I don't think I can know a plant very well until I grow it. My containers allow me the chance to challenge my horticultural skills by growing a variety of tender plants year after year without a greenhouse while allowing me to come to know some weird or unusual plants I wouldn't get to experience otherwise.
At the extreme end of the spectrum of what I will put up with to satisfy my curiosity is Ennealophus euryandrus. This obscure member of the iris family is a wretched specimen as seen above. The flowers are sparse and are typically gone by the time of day I get home from work, but I keep it around, somewhat reluctantly, because growing it feels broadening to me. The slightly obscure Boophane disticha, on the other hand, is very exciting because of its distinctive leaf arrangement and its long life cycle. Its habit of slowly developing a larger and larger bulb each year and taking who knows how long to flower (seven years and counting with no flower)makes it seem venerable and worthy of a sort of reverence. Finally my Crocosmia 'Star of the East' gives me the more conventional satisfaction of a fabulous flower show as well as a glimpse into the fascinating history of Crocosmia breeding in Norfolk, UK.