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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
Ye Olde Strawberry Pot
There is something about an old strawberry pot; I cannot remember when I did not like them. Even when I could not afford one, I would go look at them at the nurseries and long for a solitary pot to fill up with plants. When I finally could purchase one, I could not find the old Mexican style terra cotta pots with no glaze and a big rim around the top. I continued to look for them, and not finding any, I went without one for a few more years.
One day, I was talking to a friend about my wish for an old strawberry pot. She was going to throw hers away, so instead, she gave it to me. Finally, my wish came true! It was a bit of an ugly duckling with cracks in the clay and one pocket was missing, yet I did not mind as I felt it had a lot of character. With excitement, I filled the pockets with a variety of sedums and topped it off with Sedum 'Autumn Joy'. I was proud of my pot and enjoyed this planting for several years, while the clay continued to disintegrate. Another friend gave me three of these containers when she moved. Now I had an abundance. I filled one with Alpine strawberry plants and everyday when I watered it, I snacked on the sweet berries.
Container filled with Selaginella and
Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens'.
In January the plantings still look good.
I rescued a small, hand-painted strawberry pot, with cracks in the pot and peeling paint, just as it was about to be tossed in the garbage. I thought it had a lot of charm. It sat in the garden for a year and when I finally planted it, I chose Selaginella kraussiana, commonly called Trailing selaginella, and Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens', commonly called black mondo grass. The selaginella went into the pockets; on top, I planted the mondo grass and surrounded it with more selaginella.
Strawberry pot planted
in the garden. ©2000
At the time of this writing, I still have many of those first pots. One of the oldest ones cracked down one side. In the garden, I planted the pot in soil with the good side up. The exposed pockets I filled with Chiastophyllum. When the plants are in full bloom, you can hardly see the pot underneath.
One year, I made a water feature with one of the pots. I placed a terra cotta saucer that fit snugly on top and drilled a hole for the water hose to go through. I sealed the rim of the saucer and the hole where the hose came through with aquarium sealer. A small water pump was used to bubble the water on top of the saucer and drip down the sides of the pot.
Strawberry pot water fountain. ©2001
The fountain made a nice sound as the water ran down and into the pockets. I placed wide terra cotta saucers on top of some of the pots, which functioned as makeshift birdbaths. I filled the bottom of the pot with gravel, just below the first pockets, to stabilize them. They added a nice focal point in the garden, while providing water for the birds.
Two pots now sit at the top of the stairs that go up to my courtyard garden. I left them unplanted and now enjoy their form. Recently I thought I would purchase a larger glazed strawberry pot, after living with the style pots I love. I am looking forward to expanding my horizons with a variety of these charming containers with pockets.
If you have not used strawberry pots before, I encourage you to find many ways to use them such as: a birdbath, a fountain, unplanted as a focal point. Plant them sideways, upside down, right side up, even as a piece of outdoor furniture. However you create, have fun with them.
by Debbie Teashon
Photographed in author's garden.