A guide to DIY vintage garden pots in six easy steps

Some people prefer the pots to have that freshness they just bought, but to me a factory finish does the flowers a little service (the only exception is when new, tiny pots are used en masse: so, collectively , they are pretty). In general, though, it’s the changing shades and tactile textures of weathered pots that really bring out the beauty of the plants they house, from the crinkled silky petals of tulips to a frothy, snowy spectacle of daisies.

This antique look has become so desirable that authentic antique containers are highly sought after. And expensive. It’s why they appear on Etsy as expensive pre-loved finds and why Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, the Gucci of garden centres, gives them the limelight. This is also the reason why many companies making pots are now aging them with faux-paint effects, which have a knocked-down, slightly worn look that drives up the price.

On the other side of the fence, brand new terracotta pots are as cheap as crisps. And since I have a backyard garden in London, where containers give me additional planting opportunities, I often have to go the budget route. I can’t afford to buy vintage for every geranium.

At first I tried this much talked about trick of covering them in yogurt to quickly cultivate some rawness and crunch, but my attempts never prospered. The jars just felt a little slimy for a while, then some flaking appeared. Moreover, the process seemed painfully slow. So now I go for the 10 minute makeover and paint them (the only jars I wouldn’t deal with are those for edibles).

There are two advantages with the pictorial approach; the pots not only look less high visibility from the outside, if they are intended for an outdoor space rather than an indoor shelf; it also gives the natural aging process a head start.

Eventually, as your artwork fades and the hand of nature grows stronger, the two meet and blend together rather wonderfully. This is because the effects of the water based paints, which I use, won’t last forever and although you can use exterior paint or a sealer, the pots are better off breathing, reveling in the weather at their own pace.

When I posted a collection of popular jars on Instagram, Diarmuid Gavin commented on how much he loved them. I was well pampered. After all, it’s like Mary Berry complimenting your lemon drizzle.

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