As I start untucking containers, I pause to reflect on the simple terra cotta garden pot. In its traditional form and colour, it is a garden icon. Every year I cannot resist the temptation to plant classic geraniums in a terra cotta pot – there is no easier way to bring Italy to my doorstep. The rusty cinnamon colour is the perfect backdrop, mixing well with many containers for an eclectic display. Terra cotta is porous clay allowing plant roots to breathe, and it resists overwatering. These pots are inexpensive and easily accessible, making a collection of different sizes and shapes readily available. If you soak the pot in water before planting, it won’t draw moisture away from the new soil (prevents that open trench around the outside of the pot after planting). Terra cotta has an old world charm that gets better with age. You can create that aged green patina sooner by applying yogurt or buttermilk , preferably in splotches, and then leaving the pot in moist shade for about 4 weeks. Downside of terra cotta is that these pots are heavy, breakable and can’t overwinter, but that’s not enough to keep them out of my ‘pot gardens’!