potted flax, cordyline and erica
On each of the house patios I have clusters of pots. Their contents over the years have symbolised my different gardening phases. Originally the look for the decking pots was pretty, with miniature roses, petunias, daisies and pansies for Spring/Summer and Polyanthus for Autumn. They were never very successful.
Then my spikey foliage phase started. This was a better look, helped by a surfeit of red cordylines, tussocks and flax hybrids at the local nursery's bargain bin. A couple of mail order yuccas followed, plus some crazy coloured coprosmas and a very elegant blue oat grass in a blue pot.
I let pansies share the pot space, and by late summer bidens (a golden annual daisy) self seeded and livened up things. The new look pot family was a definite improvement.
On the sunnier side of the house there are two paved patios, and these have always housed foliage plants in an assortment of cheap terracotta and glazed pots. There's always been a red cordyline in the dark green pot in the top corner, and pots of various sizes have stood on the steps to the front path. This has always been the spot for pots of daisies in spring.
There are a few frost tender plants which I insist must live in pots. One is the peppermint pelargonium, which I adore, and another is a perennial blue ageratum whose puffy blue flowers look beautiful in summer. In Autumn the pots go into the glass-house and cuttings are taken to ensure fresh plants for the next spring. These pots form another group near a planter box whose annual residents vary from year to year.
One year I planted bronze fennel in a blue pot, which looked quite unusual. The following year the fennel totally refused to grow. Great idea, though!
Circle of Pots
Pots by the Gum Tree
There is a circle of pots around the BIG GUM tree in the front lawn. It was very hard to keep the base of this tree clear and trimmed, so I use the pot circle to inhibit grass growth and give a tidier look. These pots are filled with pelargoniums, helichrysum petiolare, daisies and some spring daffodils. On one side is my most elegant planting (in a most inelegant mass-produced pot) of Hakonechloa Aureola.
Two small clusters of cheap pots live at the top corner of the driveway in front of the sleepout windows. These include my most expensive ($50) and most disastrous (caterpillars) plant in a pot, my variegated Cordyline Albertii.
Cordyline Albertii Mark Two
Recently the original variegated Cordyline died - from lack of water and over-abundance of caterpillars, not doubt! Its replacement is now firmly installed - so far so good! There are also Sempervivums, Heucheras in blue pots and clean green flaxes underneath.
Watering the pots throughout the hot summer is a chore. I've tried painting the insides with clay, and adding water retentive products to the potting mix, but the watering still has to be done. Some days when the dry nor-west winds blow I water at least twice (in theory, anyway!).
There are all sorts of terracotta pots, and others which are glazed and plainly coloured - nothing tiled, handpainted or even remotely trendy. I also have subtly coloured plastic buckets with holes drilled in the bottoms which make good temporary homes for plants on the move. Often one of these joins a pot collection, looks good, and stays for a season.