Answer: Unfortunately, container plants are subject to additional stresses due to their limited root space. The roots freeze and thaw during oscillating temperatures and are subjected to extended cold temperatures because they are not insulated in the ground. The small soil volume also dries out faster. Wind is drying, too. All in all I would not recommend trying to grow hardy woody plants in containers in that situation because I think most of them will fail. If you really want to try, use the largest containers you possibly can and experiment with junipers.
Heat resistant perennials for planting in the ground might include perennial salvia, ornamental grasses, purple coneflower, Russian sage (Perovskia), and sedums. Again, I would not recommend you try these in containers.
If you want to put flowers in (large) containers, you could try heat and sunloving and drought tolerant plants such as lantana or lavender. These would not survive the winter outdoors, however.
Your local professionally trained nursery staff and/or county extension might have additional suggestions based on a more detailed understanding of your planting site and overall design goals. I'm sorry I can't be more encouraging.
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