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COntainer StackOur catalog is packed with flower pots and planters from almost 20 different factories and workshops scattered across the world. We often get questions about how we are able to bring these pots into our warehouse from these far-flung locations while maintaining attractive retail price points.

The Wall Street Journal just produced a brief video which answers these questions beautifully: How a Metal Box Changed the World

pantone-color-of-the-year-2018-ultra-violet-lee-eiseman-quoteIt’s the end of the year, which means that it’s time for the color gurus to start releasing their thoughts on the direction of fashion for the next 12 months. As always with these projections, we recommend that you view them only as general guidance, and to not let them overly influence your pottery buying plans – you are likely much more in tune with what your customers will be shopping for than are these national organizations.

Pantone has just announced that their selection for the color of the year for 2018 is going to be Ultra Violet, a rich purple leaning slightly towards blue. Here are their notes on the selection:

“A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.

Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.

Enigmatic purples have also long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance. Musical icons Prince, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix brought shades of Ultra Violet to the forefront of western pop culture as personal expressions of individuality. Nuanced and full of emotion, the depth of PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets.

Historically, there has been a mystical or spiritual quality attached to Ultra Violet. The color is often associated with mindfulness practices, which offer a higher ground to those seeking refuge from today’s over-stimulated world. The use of purple-toned lighting in meditation spaces and other gathering places energizes the communities that gather there and inspire connection.”

In a related development, Benjamin Moore Paints also projected the big color for 2018, and  their team of style-makers disagreed with Pantone, selecting “Caliente”, a rich ruby red as their winner:

We love the idea of living Christmas trees because they open up a whole new avenue for off season plant and flower pot sales. Will this trend continue to take root and become a driver of seasonal business for garden centers? offers ideas on how your customers can embrace this exciting concept:

Imagine what a difference it would make in your garden to switch out earth-toned pots that blend in with the background with containers that visually pop in shades of blue, red, orange or even purple. Colorful containers can be used in many ways to stand out and grab our attention in outdoor spaces — often where it’s more challenging to add color. Not all of the pots shown in the article are ours, but we’ve got similar ones available – remember that it’s the concepts and colors that are most important, not the specific planters.

As Lauren Dunec Hoang points out in this terrific idea book from Houzz, “nothing has more immediate impact on the mood of a garden than color”. The principles and palettes that she details can be applied to any garden or landscaping project, from a multi-pot container garden to a large flower garden. No matter the scale of the project, brightly colored flower pots and planters are a great way to highlight specific colors, and to ensure that those colors remain part of your garden palette even after the flowers fade.

The slideshow below has some tremendous ideas for Springtime container plantings. Preparing and selling pre-planted containers such as these can be an especially great way for independent garden centers to separate themselves from the big boxes, as this is a level of service that just can’t be scaled. While most of the pots shown in the slides aren’t ours, we do have very similar items to most of them on hand for quick shipment.

Lee_Eisemann Pantone Color of the Year 2017 GREENERYIt seems as though the folks at Pantone release a new “color of the year” every few months. This time around, the winner is a leafy, earthy tone they’ve named “Greenery”.

On the one hand, this is great news for those of us in the Lawn and Garden industry, as this exact color is found in the foliage of hundreds of different plants.

On the other hand, pottery and accessory items in this particular selection don’t really fly off of garden center shelves precisely because the color matches such a wide variety of natural greenery.

This is a great opportunity to capitalize on this color trend by merchandising with colors that pair well with the Pantone selection. A couple of sample palettes are shown below for inspiration – it is worth noting the presence of mushroom and grey colors in several of the palettes below – these colors are gaining steam right now.

Color of the Year 2017 - Color Pairings and Palettes

pantone color of the year

deep rooted

flower-pot-breadFor as long as humans have been making ceramic objects, they have been crafting clay into vessels to store and prepare food. From the Tandoor ovens of India, to the Tanjine of North Africa, to the Romertopf of Germany, virtually every pottery producing society on the planet has a range of traditional dishes and cooking methods centered around terra cotta clay.

In North America, we tend to reserve our red clay for flower pots and planters, while doing most of our cooking in metal pots and pans.  In spite of this history, many people are discovering the unique properties that terra cotta  clay offers to the chef, and are creatively re-purposing our German red clay pots and saucers for a variety of culinary purposes.

The porous nature of the terra cotta used to make these flower pots allows both moisture and heat to circulate through the body of the planter, encouraging even cooking temperatures and gentle browning. Here are some of our favorite uses that we’ve come across:

Our lawyers insist that we make the point that the intended use for all of the pots and planters that we sell is for use as containers for plants and flowers. That said, should you feel an overwhelming urge to unleash your hidden terra cotta chef, all of our German red clay pots and saucers are free of any harmful substances: these pots and saucers are lead-free, and their ceramic body is of natural mineral origin, and does not contain any heavy metals or chemical additives.

Our German red clay pots will not release any harmful vapors when exposed to heat, and that any contact between foodstuffs and the bodies of these pots and will be harmless if basic food safety rules are followed.

rustic-pots-header-templateFor almost 1,500 years, the Yixing region of China has been renowned as the source of some of the finest stoneware ceramic products in the world. Perched on the outer reaches of the Yangtze River plains, the area features vast deposits of iron-rich dark clay.

The “Rustic” pottery tradition was among the first to emerge from the shadow of the teapot business, as these coarsely crafted pots were originally intended for local consumption only. The traditional shapes developed as various needs arose, ranging from tall jugs for water storage, to lower shapes for oil, to wider forms used for drying rice. Over time, these containers began to be re-purposed as planters, which eventually led to an entirely new industry in the area. As time passed, production techniques became more specialized, the aesthetic more refined, and a classic tradition of simple, gorgeous, handmade (and often enormous) pottery emerged.WedgingA flower pot always starts with the clay. In this particular workshop, different clays from several local mines are blended together by experienced clay makers to produce a proprietary mix which offers the perfect combination of flexibility, durability and structural integrity necessary for these giant pieces. The mixed clay is then “wedged” or kneaded by apprentices, removing any last air bubbles, before being passed on to the pot craftsmen.Rustic Step 1The wedged clay is combined into long snake-like rolls, which are then slightly flattened by hand.Rustic Step 2These flat rolls are then attached to a previously prepared pot bottom, which includes an inch or two of the pot’s vertical walls. The clay is gradually coiled around the pot, continuously layering upon itself as the walls of the pot rise.Rustic Pottery Construction Step 3As the coil loops around the body of the pot, the craftsmen knead the the sections together by hand, progressing up the pot inch-by-inch.Rustic Pottery Construction Step 4After the pot has reached a certain height, the workers will begin the process of smoothing and shaping the walls of the pots – the smoothing is done with a series of small scrapers, while the shape is gently adjusted with wooden paddles and mallets.

The pots are then allowed to dry a bit to enhance their stability, after which the workers add another long coil to the top of the pot. This process repeats itself over the course of several days until the pot reaches its final height and form.

Eventually, the rim of the pot will be finished by a senior craftsman, and the pot will be allow to slowly, and thoroughly, dry for several days. This slow process is critical for large items, and ensures that structural cracks do not form in in the body of the pot.

Once the pots are “bone dry”, they are glazed in one of a handful of traditional, earthy glaze colors. Typically, these glazes are applied by hand in several layers,  with an uneven application around the pot.Rustic Pottery GlazingOnce the gaze is dried, the pots are loaded into enormous brick ovens, called “kilns”, which bake the pots at temperatures approaching 2,200 degrees. Often generations-old, these multi-chambered kilns are heated with wood fires, which are carefully tended to precisely control the temperatures and flow of air within the firing chambers. This is critically important, as the final colors of each glaze depend on them being fired within specific temperature ranges.Stoking the KilnFollowing a multi-day firing, the kilns are allowed to slowly cool for several more days before the door are opened. At this point, the colors of the glazes are revealed, as are the variations (drips, burn marks, hot spots, etc) that truly make each pot a unique work of art. These variations are thought to be part of the charm and beauty of these magnificent flower pots, and are not considered flaws. Kiln Being OpenedThese giant rustic planters are among the most durable that we sell, and are safe for year-round use in all climates, assuming that basic precautions are taken.

Classic Urn - Snap ShotIn the January, 2015 issue of Green Profit magazine, Jennifer Polanz pointed out that in the current marketplace, “porch pots” have the potential to help boost your off-season sales throughout the winter months if you take the time to properly merchandise the category. A few of the top ideas:

  • Conduct design workshops in which you offer customer a wide range of suitable planters, greenery, and accessories.
  • Have your staff design and build amazing porch pot arrangements – use social media to share them with your customers and drive traffic to your store.
  • Rotate the greenery and accessory offerings as Winter progresses – Jingle bells may be a great addition in December, but they won’t drive sales in February!

Here’s a link to the complete article.