Dry clay pots, painted before they are planted, will be less porous and in some cases more attractive. If different colors are used each year, the container garden will not be dull. Desirable among clay pots are the small Italian types, characterized by simple circular rims. Large Italian pots, decorated richly with garlands, are indeed handsome and the gardener with the proper setting for them is fortunate.
For your garden, you might prefer glazed ceramic pots. Like jardinieres, they usually lack drainage holes and are most useful when unglazed pots are slipped inside them. These then do not dry out so quickly. Always be certain the potted plant stands above drainage water by placing pebbles, stones, or pieces of wood at the bottom of the jardiniere.
Glazed pots with drainage holes have several advantages. Plants require less frequent watering because the soil remains moist longer and surfaces of containers remain free of salt accumulations. On the other hand, watering requires care though with practice you can learn just how much water to apply and when. Glazed pots come in many colors, but delicate pastel shades-pink, peach, aqua, or yellow-are usually preferred. For instance try pink geraniums in pink, soft green, or pale blue containers.
Glazed containers may be gaily decorated with intricate patterns or designs. These are seen in the patios of Portugal, Spain, and Italy as well as in Japanese gardens. In certain settings they may be appropriate with flowering plants, but they are best suited to foliage types, since the decorations detract from the flowers. In a Portuguese jardiniere or a Japanese porcelain urn, you will like sprenger asparagus, Japanese privet, rubber plant, French ivy, upright philodendron, cast iron plant, rosemary, or a foliage begonia.
Tubs Are Popular
Tubs-the traditional circular or the modern square, triangular, or hexagonal type-are outstanding plant containers. Easily available as well as durable, they are heavy when filled with soil, so they are not easily knocked over. Wooden containers can be painted; in fact, they can be given a different color each year, a pleasant chore for the winter. Wooden tubs can also be stained or allowed to weather naturally, and these are recommended for foliage plants, scented geraniums, and such herbs as rosemary, basil, chives, and sage.
The familiar circular wooden tub is widely accepted. Newer angular boxes-square, rectangular, triangular, octagonal, or hexagonal-have been designed for contemporary houses. These may be purchased or custom-made, generally in redwood, cedar, or Southern red cypress. Allowed to weather, they become a neutral gray, a color that goes with all flowering and foliage plants. But if desired, these woods may be painted or stained.