Where would we be without Ebay? This weekend we collected 30 large, antique terracotta plant pots from Essex. It took me about 10 minutes to find the source – an old nursery belonging to the grandfather of the seller – and another 10 minutes to buy the pots (at a reduction because of the quantity.) Then about an hour to collect them from the nursery.
In the past, none of this would have been possible. I used to buy old pots where I found them in junk/antique shops, generally for far more than these cost (£8 each.) I did once advertise in the local paper and managed to buy great quantities – maybe 100 – from old gardeners who preferred plastic but these were all small pots, suitable only for a single, small plant.
Though plastic is probably more practical and certainly lighter weight, I love the mixture of clay colours and lichens that collect on the sides and the fact that none are quite the same. They look far more stylish arranged around our back door or on shelves outdoors than the mundane red or black plastic versions.
The bigger ones, about nine inches in diameter at the top, will be excellent for large pelargoniums. I have bought about 30 of these from the brilliant Fibrex nurseries, which specialise in pelargoniums, ivy and ferns – a strange mixture but one that suits me well since I love all three. I do have difficulty, for some reason, in remembering the names of ferns whereas ivies and pelargoniums are easy. Best of all I love the scented-leaved pelargoniums which can be put in salads or just rubbed between finger and thumb and the ones with wild bright coloured flowers like P ardens. Ardent by name and by nature. For ivies, I choose ones which are not too variegated. I like particularly large floppy leaves, tiny erect stems (Hedera erecta and congesta) or ones with very distinct shapes, like birds’ feet.
I’m still on the lookout for even bigger pots. If anyone knows some for sale – just let me know.