Go­ing to pot

Taupe is the new black, says Toby, as he looks at the colours, shapes and sizes of plas­tic pots avail­able

Amateur Gardening - - Toby Buckland -

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

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