Even my containers are buried under ice and snow! I do think each year about the intelligence of putting together winter containers only to have them buried in snow for most of the winter season. They are costly and might be just as attractive with some greens or a small boxwood in each one.
I am dreaming about my garden of 2014 and looking back at some newer introductions and great performing older introductions.
I ordered plugs last year from Park Seed and my only complaint is that they faded with full sun. You might see them this year in the nurseries and would be worth a try in the lighter colors, supposedly holds up better in heat than petunias and calibrachoa (it's parents).
Sunpatiens were great this year and will do well in sun or part shade. This variety is not affected by the dreaded mildew.
I loved the variegated leaf variety of Sunpatiens on the north side of the house. They are a little pricey but maybe with more use the price will come down. This is the type of plant that is worth growing from seed indoors if it can be found in the seed catalogs.
Magellan Coral Zinnia was grown from seed started indoors, great bloomers with very large flowers, other colors available This variety is much showier than Profusion Zinnia.
Uproar Zinnia is taller than Magellan, large flowers and looked great growing behind Coral Magellan.
Uproar and Magellan Zinnias
Zinnias are one of the easiest flowers to start from seed, germinates very quickly so don't start too soon indoors.
I received the seeds for this new bean introduction in mid-summer from Harris Seed Company. I planted them on the edge of my raised bed veggie garden and they produced two crops of beans before the end of the summer. This is a great variety for small places, or as an edging.