Don’t we all have pots like this or am I just weird? One of the downsides (?) of being a bonsai enthusiast is the tendency to collect pots for which you have no tree, not now, often never. This translates to a pot collection greater than the number of trees you have. Still, you won’t have the right pot for the next tree you are repotting. That’s the way it works.

Some pots are acquired because of their intrinsic charm even tho you know that the chances using them are minimal. I have several pots that I bought and they sit on my TV cabinet, in my bookcase and on the window sill in the kitchen just because I could not resist their character.

I snatched a pot during a lunch break at an AABC Melbourne conference, made by a Czech potter- totally taken by its beauty. Only when I tried to put something in it, did I realise that use increased the chances of breaking off the ‘waves’ 100%. So it sits in the lounge room filled with Huon pine shavings and I love it. I would really love to put a plant in it but it is simply too risky. So it became an art object.

In April I was in a bonsai nursery in Tasmania, saw a pot and grabbed it. It is made from Port Arthur ironstone clay and is simply stunning and really ennobles the Kunzea it holds. Pure class. At another nursery, the same day, I spotted a mame pot and bought it. Both pots almost the same cost and I knew that the chances of using the small pot were minimal. But I simply loved it. The problem being, most of my bonsai are small and to use it as an accent plant pot would make it oversized for most of my trees, small though it is. So it sits next to the Czech pot on my cabinet where I can admire it daily. I do have an accent plant coming along that might just do the trick but we shall see. Actually, it could be a good accent pot for the Port Arthur pot. Spring and repotting brings interesting revelations.

Another pot that I loved is simply a pot that I won’t use because it is not my style. But I was taken with the imperfection on the side where it was too close to the kiln when firing. A flaw made it perfect. Do you have to use a pot if its character is enough for you? I don’t think so.

Last, an English potter’s burned pot that I got from the same table that sold me the Czech pot. It is misshapen and ‘burned’ and I LOVE its character. I haven’t yet found a tree for it but that could be because it sits in my bookcase well away from the selection of pots I have outside. This pot I will use- I just don’t know when.

Most of my trees are in handmade pots or quality older commercial pots and yet my unused pot collection outnumbers my trees. We are all that way – it is part of the joy of being a bonsai enthusiast – your interest and collection stretches to interesting pots. I like handmade and unusual. I’m not into brown pots or standard commercial pots. Two pots I got recently from Janet Selby are unusual and well loved.

The cotoneaster is a very young plant and needs a couple of years to become a nice tree but I love it with the pot – very much out of the ordinary but it works. Well, I think it works. Once it fills out and becomes more in tune with the pot it will be absolute fun. Yes, you can have fun pots!!.

The saotome azalea suits the deliberately ‘broken’ pot – it is different, it is not boring and it compliments the tree. I get enjoyment from both of the odd pots every time I walk my benches. Pot collecting is fun whether you use the pot or not. It all adds to the charm of bonsai.