HTA: More than just a plant pot

There are over five million redundant plant pots gathering dust in the sheds of the UK that are yet to reach their potential. As part of the plant pot revival we want to see pots and containers spruced up and creating inspirational garden spaces in homes, offices, hospital, schools and more across the UK.

A plant pot doesn’t have to be just that, it can add a sense of style to an environment, be a part of every day cooking, attract the local wildlife or even be created from an old watering can.

Themes to explore

  • Recycled – You don’t need a traditional plant pot to start growing, which is proven by our UK growers who initially used old tin cans. We invite you to source a variety of potential pots and upcycle them into plant pots; they might be bags, tea cups, paint pots, or an old pair of wellington boots.
  • Recipe – Grow you own herbs, fruit or vegetables to use at home while you cook. The following are good starter pots:

Chef – Basil, thyme, rosemary, chives, oregano

Cocktail – Mint, strawberry, cucu-melons, lime basil

Salad – Lettuces, rocket, coriander, cress, spinach

  • Style –Design your own plant pot to liven up and complement an area in need. Paint a pot, knit it a cover, design one to fit a brand, give it a vintage or shabby chic look. For example, find an old plant pot or promising container like a mini-bucket, plus some strong glue, scissors and brushes. Collect some decorative items like buttons, waterproof paint, fabric, felt shapes, ribbons, etc. Then decorate your pot to a style of your liking.
  • Wellbeing – Plants are good for the mind and body as well as for enjoying in the garden. Create yourself a pot of wellbeing by growing plants linked to aromatherapy and healthy living. Lavender, mint, violets, thyme, rosehip, aloe vera and camomile are all great examples of this.
  • Wildlife – Pots don’t have to be solely for plants and people enjoyment. You can use them as squirrel feeders, bird baths, pollinators to attract bees, and homes for wildlife like worms and hedgehogs. For example, plant a pot with seeds such as: bird’s foot trefoil, clarkia or echinacea to attract bees into your garden.
  • Children’s – There’s no age limit when it comes to gardening, so get the younger ones involved with easy to grow plants in colourful pots like cress, tomatoes, potatoes, sun flowers and sweet peas.
  • Sensory – Explore plants to develop the senses through colour, shape and smell, and turn your garden space into a place of stimulation. Dianthus, geraniums, chocolate cosmos and jasmine can be combined to make a scented pot.
  • Small space – You don’t need a traditional garden to enjoy gardening. You can transform whatever space you’ve got into a garden-like environment by: placing pots on the balcony, growing a living wall, hanging pots from the ceiling, attaching them to drain pipes, or simply making the most of your window sill.

Whatever your container, don’t forget to use good compost, feed regularly and add drainage holes to give your plants the best start.

An industry of pot lovers

The gardening industry has been quick to catch on to the benefits of growing using plant pots producing a range of initiatives from competitions to innovative products, recycled pots to the ‘Appottment’ an allotment made from containers.

White Stuff celebrated the gardening theme in its recent ‘Potty about you’ competition which asked customers to share the story of their own plant pots. The winning pot, celebrating the Herefordshire Countryside, was decorated with a daisy strewn meadow and some grazing sheep. We also liked the Honey Pot decorated with shells from a couple’s honeymoon and planted with the seeds from their Eden Project wedding which will grow into the same roses used for the bride’s bouquet.

Following the playful theme, Christine Walkden’s herb planter comes in the form of several pairs of wellington boots creating a vibrant, fun and effective way to grow your own plants including parsley and nasturtiums. While Whichford Pottery, a handmade flowerpot business, crafts more modern and classic pots such as elephant planters, and embossed and hand inscribed designs. It then showcases its planting ideas in a pretty courtyard garden highlighting themes like the seasons and colour blocking.

ashortwalkR, a manufacturer of innovative products, has developed the ECO-Potagator. Strong believers that growing your own plants can be highly rewarding whether you have a garden or not, the company created this compact, multi-purpose, windowsill based pot for people to grow their own herbs in. Not only an attractive pot, it also incorporates a mini propagator too.

Compostapots from Kings Seeds are also a great way to propagate young plants before planting them in the garden or a larger pot. The 100% biodegradable pots can be planted directly in soil and will break down over time.

2tech also has several novel pot products including a sky planter that holds a wide variety of plants upside-down and is a great way to maximise space; Click & Grows an easy-to-use electronic smartpot that grows plants in smart soil and self waters, and urbio an indoor vertical garden planter for urban gardening and small space organisation.

Gardening Times editor Chris Allen has created an ‘Appotment’ made up of edible plant varieties in containers within a small open space. The ‘Appotment’ will be used to share practical hints and tips about growing your own plants in pots. One key advantage with growing in pots early in the season is that seedlings and young plants can be moved under cover during extreme conditions then moved out for growing on and harvesting.

Chris comments: “This is real life gardening to share with our readers. During its first year, 2013, the weather conditions proved challenging from the outset, so 2014 will require considerably more input to produce more crops over a longer period of time. The plan is they will have more to read about the ‘Appotment’ project this season. I just hope the local weather conditions allow me to start seed sowing early in the season”.

Wildlife lovers should check out Wildlife WorldR, a manufacturer of wildlife products thathas transformed terracotta pots and ceramic mugs into environments to attract frogs, toads, birds and bees. The Frogilo acts as an amphibian retreat providing a natural cool and safe space that protects from predators. The Eureka Urn, based on ancient Greek artefacts can be used as either a feeder or nester for small birds. While the mug works as a solitary bee nester to help bees pollinate garden plants, and contributes to their survival.

It Starts with a Pot

Garden retailers across the country are being encouraged to help get people growing this spring by becoming involved in the ‘It Starts with a Pot’ cross industry PR initiative. The campaign is designed to show people that gardening does not have to be complicated but that it can be straightforward and fun, and start with a pot.

Websites:
www.the-hta.org.uk/iswap
www.itstartswithapot.org

Social:
www.pinterest.com/startswithapot
www.facebook.com/itstartswithapot

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