The One Plant Pot


Large pots are delight in a garden. Pots are perhaps the purest expression of planting design. Composing a pot is like a chef creating a salad—all of the rules of design get stripped down to their essence. In a larger landscape, the hand of the designer can be lost, but with a pot, the artificial environment is a pure display of horticultural skill.

Earlier in my career, I was obsessed with highly mixed pots. With pots, you can pull off things you never can in a larger landscape. One year, I did a theme pot of nothing but plants I found on the side of the road. It actually turned out ok. Other years, I’ve had fun combining annuals with huge leafed perennials like Tetrapanex. A well designed combination lets you see plants in a new light.

But recently, I’ve been drawn to simpler, single-plant pots. They seem to have more impact in a garden than a fussy, highly mixed pot. I wanted to share a few images of gorgeous, one plant pots from other designers:


Above:  I love this composition of one-plant pots designed by Mosaic Gardens in Eugene, Oregon.  I love almost anything this design firm does.  Their designs are strong, yet whismical with a real sense of place and materials.  My list of designers I would have design my own yard is small, but Rebecca and Buell would definitely make the short list. 




Above: The pot cluster goes modern.  I love the sculptural use of plants in these simple geometric pots.  Equisetum, Pinus mugo, and a purple Aeonium prove that less is definitely more. 


Above: The tightly clipped boxwood in this garden define space on the terrace.  The cool blue color of the pots contrasting with the deep green of the boxwood is utterly elegant. 


Above: Is it really this easy?  Boxwood, a dwarf spruce, and terra cotta prove that boring foundation plants placed in a great pot can transform a space.  Image from Siebert and Rice catalogue. 





Photo by Valerie Easton, garden design by Nancy Heckler. Originally published in Pacific Northwest Magazine
Above: Edible and ornamental?  This simple pot of rosemary set in front of Redbor Kale proves that moving a pot from the terrace to the garden can be a wonderful way of punctuating a moment.  Check out the full article of this delightful garden.

Want great pots for simple creations like this?  Here are some of my favorite sources.  First, for fiberglass recreations of large size pots, I always use Capital Garden Products.  This company is able to patina fiberglass to look like aged terra cotta, lead, or even bronze.  Fiberglass is a super-strong, super light weight alternative to terra cotta, lead, or metal planters. 

For smaller, terra cotta pots, I love Guy Wolff.  My wife and I visited his potting house a few years ago in Connecticut.  He specializes in recreations of historic pots.  His line is very affordable and very beautiful.  My favorite are his white pots.  They show off plants marvelously. 




A photo I took of Guy Wolff in action

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