Pots of history for Wormley West End gardeners

PUBLISHED: 15:28 15 February 2010 | UPDATED: 14:48 20 February 2013

Unusual planters make fabulous additions to any garden,

Unusual planters make fabulous additions to any garden,

What started as a hobby collecting unusual pots for gardens is now a full-time venture for Julia Skinner from Wormley West End. Philippa Pearson dips into her range of interesting containers

WALK into any garden centre today and you'll find an impressive collection of plant pots and containers, all shapes, sizes and colours. When you visit J's Pots and Potted Gardens near Broxbourne you'll also find an amazing collection of pots: but each container is unique, unusual and comes with its own piece of history and individual background.

Julia Skinner trained as a garden designer in the 1990s and has always been interested in architectural pots but found it difficult to source them on a wider scale for the gardens she was creating. She started to collect antique and unusual pots in her spare time but soon the visits to auctions and clearance sales gathered momentum: what started as a hobby soon became a business when J's Pots and Potted Gardens opened its gates in 2003.

Luckily, Julia has a decent sized courtyard to display her containers which also embrace a veritable pot pourri of interesting garden ornaments including old chimney pots, millstones, milk churns, statues and traditional gardening tools.

She sources all of her products in the UK and feels that owning each item is like having your own unique piece of history and has great fun finding out background details of the collectables. Each auction event, farm and house clearance sale Julia goes to turns out to be an adventure as she is not sure what pieces she will come away with and what their history is.

'It's all part of the challenge, to find something unusual, something different,' says Julia who supplies her items to customers across the UK and even exports some pieces overseas.

A regular exhibitor at the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show and Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, amongst other events, Julia's natural eye for detail has gardeners making a bee-line for her stand. At this year's Chelsea show, she had an unusual Welsh granite bowl, originally a font, which attracted lots of attention from visitors.

'It made a perfect planting container and that is the beauty and interest of collecting these individual pieces. I just love finding unusual items that look great as a garden ornament in their own right or can be used as a unique item to plant perennials, trailing plants, bulbs, alpines or summer bedding plants.'

Article taken from August issue of Hertfordshire Life

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