Give you plain, terracotta pots a make-over. Choose colors that complement or contrast with the flowers for best effect. Do not be too subtle, as pale colors get lost, make the pots stand out with bold stripes in reds, purples, blue, and whites, or try painting them with different size spots, hoops, or zigzags. Such decorations are an excellent way of highlighting small containers. When decorating large pots use simple patterns and solid colors to avoid over-complicating the effect.
To make a striped pot, begin by cleaning and drying it. Then apply an all-over background color, such as white. Next fix stripes of masking tape running up the side of the pot. Apply a second color, such as red, removing the tape when the paint has dried.
You can add further colors, continuing in the same way. If you want to create a more home-made rustic look, paint by eye. The patterning does not have to be immaculate. Customizing your own pots in this way is much cheaper than looking for a pot with exactly the right color scheme, and certainly much more fun. Other suitable painting techniques include stenciling, sponging, and stippling.
Galvanized containers also make extremely good pots. They can be easily brightened up using controlled splashes of paint in whatever colors you wish. Golds and silvers look best.
Make a feature of your decorated containers, painting several pots and grouping them together boldly, individual decorated pots will look out of place on their own. Decorated pots can be used anywhere in the garden but look particularly attractive on windowsills and indoorways
A TOUCH OF YELLOW
LEFT: The starling yellow face of the sunflower is echoed by the yellow rim.
YELLOW AND BLUE POT
ABOVE: Red pelargoniums are given a new lease of life in smartly colored pots.
A VIBRANT DISPLAY
LEFT: Brightly-colored parrot tulips need a sunny setting, such as these striking blue and white pots.
RIGHT: White cyclamen, combined with vivid striped pots and young box plants, create an unusual display.
SOUTH AMERICAN STYLE
LEFT: Cacti and succulents come in all kinds of weird and wonderful shapes, from tiny pebble like growths to elaborate candelabra. Ethnic-style pots add exactly the right finishing touch.
ABOVE: A perfect example of the range of simple patterns you can use to brighten up pots, from stripes and dots to regular wavy lines.