A Tale of Two Pots

Some years ago I purchased a blue glazed pot for our Chapel Hill garden. I had no intention of putting plants in it; it was to be an architectural piece…a statement piece. I placed it in the front garden midst a sea of Indica azaleas. The contrast between the flowers and the deep blue of the pot was striking. After the azaleas finished their bloom, it remained as a piece of garden sculpture.


Indica azaleas

The pot moved with us to the Charlotte area, this time placed in the midst of pink Knock Out® roses, seeking the same effect.


Knock Out roses

Time had an impact on this arrangement…and a lesson learned. The nearby chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus ‘Shoal Creek’) grew to shade the roses, greatly reducing their flowering. At the same time I began to learn that rose maintenance can become increasingly burdensome on ones back. I realized that a change was in order. I offered the roses to my Rector who was delighted to have them and even did the digging as part of the deal.

I reworked the bed with new soil and planted ‘Autumn Twist’ Encore® azaleas. Again the blue pot found its home among them, again with pleasing results.


‘August Twirl’ Encore azaleas

The second pot entered our garden for other reasons.

In another section of the present garden I had planted a classic southern magnolia at the urging of my wife who loves the fragrance of the flowers and uses the foliage in arrangements. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I had made a serious mistake in the placement of my wife’s magnolia. As it would undoubtedly grow to its massive size over time, it would surely crowd out and take over a major portion of the garden. I began to plot for a way to remove it before it got too large. It was not until my wife began complaining about the stoop labor involved in cleaning up the brown leaves it shed each year that I found my way clear. When it was taken, it left a ten inch diameter stump at ground level. There was no room to get a piece of heavy equipment into the area to remove it without ruining my garden…or my neighbor’s yard. So the stump stayed.

My solution was another pot. I found just the right large pot that covers the stump and holds a ‘Tuscarora’ crape myrtle. The pale blue of the pot contrasts well with the two ‘Sunglow’ azaleas on either side. And later in the summer we are blessed with the delightful lavender blooms of ‘Tuscarora.’


Azalea ‘Sunglow’ and ‘Tuscarora’ crape myrtle

I learned that an attractive pot can cover a lot of garden mistakes.

About johnvic8

John Viccellio retired after 24 years in the U. S. Navy and began to dig into gardening when he could finally land in one place. He completed the Master Gardener course in 1992 and has since designed and constructed two of his own gardens. He wrote a monthly garden column for ten years and was a regular contributor to Carolina Gardener magazine. John published his first book, Guess What's in My Garden!, in 2014. He lives in Stallings, NC with his wife, in close proximity to six of his eight grandchildren.
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