I tried searching on the internet for the history of pots used specifically to contain plants and found this picture of Ancient Egyptians transporting myrrh trees .
... but there's not much else, just lots of web-sites about the other sort of pot, so I'll write this post free-style with the information that I know.
Surely, lightweight and inexpensive plastic pots revolutionised the gardening industry, but I can't find the date when they were first supplied to nurseries.
A gardener may opt to keep a plant that he has purchased contained in its pot for a period of time to allow acclimatisation to it's new environment before transplantation. Alternatively, he may decide to pot a plant himself if he desires full control of it's watering, feeding, growing medium and location. In this case, he has basically two types of pots to choose from, porous (eg. clay or tufa) and non-porous (eg. plastic or metal). Some gardeners prefer porous pots as they regulate the temperature, aeration and watering of plants, others debate that non-porous pots keep the soil moister for longer. I've found that clay pots soak up water when they're new, but this isn't such a problem as they age.
In December, it dawned on me that if I didn't plant more varieties of bulbs I'd have the same old daffodils and tulips to blog about come springtime. Due to the unseasonably warm weather, all the bulbs on sale had started to sprout and prices were slashed. I bought some snowdrops, which had almost dried out, and some miniature iris bulbs to grow in pots on the patio, so that I could look at them while gulping down toast and my first cup of tea of the day in the back-room. By early March, one snowdrop bloomed successfully and a few more irises - my breakfast beauties.
|snowdrop & miniature irises|
Apparently, plastic plant pots are not environmentally-friendly as they are made from a different kind of plastic compared to food packaging so most recycling centres don't accept them. I, personally, don't have a surplus plant pot mountain as I don't frequent garden centres, attempting instead to propogate my own seeds and cuttings in as many pots as I can find. The garden of my childhood home is my main source of cuttings and perennial shoots. I usually help myself as I do the more labour intensive chores for my mother, however a couple of weeks ago she presented me with two baby peonies - much more precious when they're given rather than taken.
|one year old hydrangea cutting, camellia seedling and two new shoots of peonies|
In return I gave her a sucker separated from my dwarf flowering quince which I had been saving to grow as a bonsai tree. I'm not sure if a quince with unknown parentage is a fair swap for two peonies, one of which was originally bought in the last day sale at the Chelsea flower show (that scored at least two points in my mum's mind, one for a bargain, two for Chelsea - ultimate place for her to buy a plant). Hope she's not keeping tabs ...
|dwarf flowering quince and its separated sucker|
Of all the cuttings that I've tried to propogate so far, only one has survived - a year old lacecap hydrangea, but it wasn't the one that I willed on the most; magnolia tree cuttings elude me. I've tried to encourage them to root for three years, unsuccessfully.
|my mother's magnolia and its cutting in my (not so) lucky pot|
My other tree experiments have been more successful ...
I gave up on my cherry blossom sucker a long time ago. Then in early March, I noticed some white flecks amongst what looked like dead branches, which turned out to be perfectly-formed blossoms. Just as these are dying, the buds of the parent are about to burst open.
|separated sucker from my cherry blossom tree|
The fig tree is about three years old, bought as a sick green shoot. I keep it in a pot because constraining the roots concentrates its energy on fruiting, though it will be a while yet.
Three apple treelets, now one year old, are in pots because I'm not sure where their final home will be. I forgive their slow growth, because it means I can view them in my garden for longer. Keeping the memory of our family apple tree alive is more important than apple crumble ... for now.
|a fig sapling and three potential apple trees|
Finally on the subject of crumble ...
I meant to bring my rhubarb into the darkness of the shed to force it to produce tender stalks as farmers do in the North of England, with the aid of candlelight. Then I read a post about rhubarb forcing pots by Janet@ PlanticruNotes, a simpler technique for the home gardener, if less romantic. Unfortunately, the rhubarb sprouted out of the ground before I could catch it in time. I harvested the first stalks last weekend and covered what remained with an improvised forcing pot. Fingers crossed, my crumble will be sweeter and pinker next time round.
|red canada rhubarb grown naturally - now being forced under a pot|
Today I'm linking up to Christine and Barbara's meme at The Gardening Blog : Garden Bloggers Harvest Day ...
... and to Katarina's meme at Roses & Stuff : In My Pots
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