Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Pots for You to Think about HOW TO PLANT SPRING CONTAINERS

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Pots for You to Think about HOW TO PLANT SPRING CONTAINERS

Article excerpt

POTS and containers are a great way to brighten up your garden. They can be as traditional or eccentric as you like, as long as they hold soil and moisture and provide a decent root space for plants.

And they are an easy way of stamping your personality on your outdoor space. Bigger is best - more soil equals more moisture for plants. There's a huge range of materials, from wood, wicker and terracotta to concrete, tile, plastics and metals.

Plastic containers are light, durable and cheap. They won't leak and, because they are non-porous, they hold water better than stone. Some of the designs you can get in plastic look exactly like stone anyway.

But they won't last for ever. The combination of summer heat and winter cold will eventually make the plastic brittle and prone to cracking.

Wooden barrels remain popular - firms make them from whisky or sherry casks. But they are heavy and slats shrink and swell depending on how wet they are, so they may need a plastic lining.

Terracotta is a classic. It's basically a form of baked earthenware and, more often than not, unglazed. There's nothing prettier than a cluster of terracotta pots basking on a sunny patio.

Look out for a frost-proof guarantee. They are more expensive but you will be grateful if your garden is prone to freezing.

For something more eccentric, the sky is the limit. I've seen brilliant garden displays using old tyres stacked on top of each other, chimney pots, wine crates, old wellington boots, sinks and even recycled oil drums.

A word of warning - watch out for contamination if you use old industrial containers or wood and metal. They may have carried substances that could be harmful to plants. If you're unsure, line with plastic or treat with a garden paint. Or make your own. Leftover decking can be stuck together to make an attractive patio planter using waterproof wood glue or nails.

Hessian sacks and baskets make interesting containers but degrade after one or two seasons. …

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