Going to pot
Taupe is the new black, says Toby, as he looks at the colours, shapes and sizes of plastic pots available
THE drawer in our utility room is so full of old keys, toys and impedimenta that it barely opens. But we keep it, just in case a crisis calls for a bent paperclip and half a pack of cards! You might not have such a drawer (go on, treat yourself!) but if you garden, then you’re bound to have the outdoor equivalent
– a sentimental stash of plastic pots stuffed behind the shed or under the greenhouse bench.
We keep them because they might come in handy, and it’s amazing how quickly their numbers build – especially after a planting project. Yet most are superfluous to requirements and just end up collecting cobwebs.
What annoys me is the ridiculous number of shapes and sizes that prevent pots stacking together, and no matter how many you keep there are never enough to give a batch of home-grown plants the same leg-room for their roots. To grow groups of plants well, the same conditions are important, because when seeds or cuttings are potted up in identical containers they dry out, need feeding and potting on at the same time, making care easier and success more likely.
What’s even more galling is that although many black pots are made from recycled plastic, putting them into the recycling bin for collection doesn’t mean they’ll come back as something useful. The carbon pigment that creates their colour acts like an invisibility cloak, stopping them from being ‘seen’ by infrared automated plastic recycling machines, so they end up being burnt or buried in landfill.
Thankfully, this is about to change due to a horticultural industry-wide scheme that aims to make black pots a thing of the past. From next year, taupe will be the new black on the production lines of the UK’s largest wholesale nurseries. Taupe, if you didn’t know, comes from the French word for ‘mole’, and the pots do have a moleskin hue.
Some may say that taupe isn’t as fitting as the recessive coal-coloured containers we’ve used until now, but what does it matter? They’ll be behind the shed before you know it!
“You’re bound to have a sentimental stash of pots”
The new black: Stylish new taupe pots containing Penstemon ‘Pensham Czar’ Who doesn’t have a pot pile lurking somewhere in their garden?
Identical pot sizes for cuttings, such as these chrysanths, means their care will be easier