Planting focus: Using clay containers
Container-growing gives gardeners the chance to experiment with unusual plants they’d never normally grow in their flowerbeds. "Standards" (specimens that have been trained to a single stem and then pruned so that foliage and flowers sit at the pinnacle) are popular “thrillers” for containers, and this connoisseur’s ‘African Blue’ basil with its distinctive flower spikes certainly attracts attention where it sits on its venerable city street. Wisps of neutral ‘Cappuccino’ hair sedge link the basil with the pendulous lavender blooms of the double calibrachoa below.
Terracotta pots made from clay are the first choice for many gardeners, both for their neutral tan colour and their porous composition, allowing easy oxygen exchange between the sides of the pot and the root zone of plants. On the downside, they allow water to evaporate more quickly than plastic pots, making watering a daily chore, and must be stored bone-dry if they are overwintered in a freezing garage (to prevent cracking).
- Double lavender superbells (Calibrachoa ‘US08CJ1601’)
- ‘Cappuccino’ New Zealand Hair sedge (Carex tenuiculmis ‘Cappuccino’)
- ‘African Blue’ basil standard (Ocimum ‘African Blue’)
- Silverlace plectranthus (Plectranthus oertendahlii silver-leaved)
- Purple wandering jew (Tradescantia pallida ‘Purpurea’)
Photography by Edward Pond, plants provided by Plant World