By Stephanie Cavanaugh
THE BEAUTY of gardening in pots is that the plants can be moved.
Disaster with the asters? Drop a pot in the spot. (That clever wordplay was accidental, by the way).
Not sure where to stick a little bush? If it’s in a pot you can move it about until it says, Yes! I love it here!
Have a clutch of bulbs of who-knows-what color and afraid of a clash? Stick them in pots until they flower. (You can, by the way, overplant bulbs with something pretty; the bulbs will grow up through whatever’s above.)
Sad story. That hollyhock I bought with such hope a couple of weeks ago drooped in misery. I suspected this would happen, given my shady habitat, but bravely I forged forth. I did see a blossom, one sweet pink flower, and that was it. It’s in a pot, so can easily be dumped in the trash.
This is another pot point. When you want something that you know will not work, treat it as you would a bunch of cut flowers. You know those won’t give you more than a week or so of pleasure, but you buy them anyway. So you buy a plant you crave for color or memory or some such and when it flops, out it goes.
It’s tough, I know. Some people, like My Prince, hate my disposable attitude. But should you have a friend who loves to resuscitate the mortally ill, you can pass the wretched thing along.
There’s been a photo over my desk, on the board I keep for such things, reminders of I WANT (as if I need to be reminded). The photo has been there for years, and as it often happens (for me) some semblance of it comes to life, eventually. In this case it’s a garden heavily shaded by a tree of some sort, beneath it are greens—ferns and shrubs and hydrangeas that appreciate a somewhat gloomy life. Scattered about are several beautifully painted pots, lofting more ferns and shrubs, giving the space levels where there had been none. The vivid colors also serve as flowers where flowers don’t care to bloom.
My point being, you don’t always need blooming plants to create a brilliantly colorful space. Paint a pair of chairs Chinese red, add a table with a mosaic top. Portuguese, Chinese, and Mexican pots are a riot of color and pattern. The French have such a way with blue. I’ve always wanted a Balinese umbrella, one with lots of fringes and a little cupola on top. That alone could take the place of a garden of roses. No deadheading necessary.
Broken pots, though—I know these have become a thing. But once you’ve seen that thing for the 45th time, it’s time to try something new.
On the other hand, pots that are broken and set upright can be charming in almost any setting. Most of ours have been found on sidewalks, foundlings. We have a wealth of fusspots in this neighborhood who toss their whatnots when they show a ding, or are just ready for a replacement.
Such discoveries are so much more rewarding than (depending on the girth of your wallet) logging onto Amazon or Frontgate and whipping out a credit card.