26 January 2015
Scents of arrival
I was thrilled to receive a beautiful handmade Willow Pottery plant pot for Christmas, already slightly weathered, and in no time at all it has found its place on the wall outside my front door. I am reminded of the first time I arrived at Christopher Lloyd's house, Great Dixter, to see his display of horticultural gems close to the front door. I felt then that it was the perfect welcome for visitors and friends and reflect on this moment as each season passes, getting excited about deciding which floral beauty will take its place in my entrance pots. It feels such a luxury having lovely seasonal pots close to the house. Not only does it create a unique arrival for visitors but it also welcomes you home with colour and, often, a wonderful perfume.
I have now started to gather a collection of pots created by Willow Pottery as I have fallen in love with their style and colour. They feel so Elizabethan and feature that intricate woven work, seen in that period, that allows them to sit perfectly with the house here. In addition they weather beautifully and so very quickly they look right at home.
Willow Pottery, although situated just north of Bath, uses Staffordshire clay. The colour is just right for the period and style here at Allt-y-bela and because they are made in the same way they were by the Victorians, they look and feel very traditional.
This winter I have filled mine with hellebores, bought from my local nursery, which afterwards I will plant into the garden around the streamside. The colours of the flowers are perfect and there are even a couple of blousy double ones giving the display a really sumptuous feel. I am already beginning to ponder what I shall plant it up with next. I love to fill my pots with seasonal beauties, selecting plants to showcase as treasures welcoming those who arrive at the front door. For spring, I have my sights on Edgeworthia chrysantha, whose scent is extraordinary and a real treat to have so early in the year. I shall enjoy the heady aroma wafting around outside the entrance to the house, until it is time to plant it out into the garden and once again decide what to fill the pots with for the summer.
Willow Pottery can produce pots to your specific requirements, personalising it with your own pattern and branding should you wish. They are in the process of creating a beautiful glazed pancheon, which was used in the traditional method of collecting and separating milk to make butter. In addition they have some lovely bird nesting pots that look beautiful when hung up for the birds. I would highly recommend a visit to the pottery, which is situated between the M4 and Bath.
Find out more here
Words: Arne Maynard
Photographs: William Collinson and Britt Willoughby Dyer