I have been very happy with the concrete planters this year. I paired Firecracker Fuchsia with red begonias and accented the planting with a green-gray variegated ivy and corkscrew grass.
The fuchsia didn't bloom all that much, but I really like the pink and green-gray foliage regardless of the flowering traits of the plant. The whole arrangement just feels calming to me, and the pale foliage accented with burgundy streaks complements the colors of our house very well.
Last year's planting of coleus and sweet potato vine was just too dramatic for this area, which requires a warmer, softer tone to blend well with the gentle feeling of the roses and other English cottage garden plantings.