Plants have been grown in decorative and utilitarian types of garden planters for thousands of years. From early mosaics and manuscripts, we know that the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks grew aromatic plants, such as myrtle, box and bay in garden planters. They were aware that it was a practical and efficient growing technique, especially in areas where the soil was poor or shallow.
In southern Spain, during the early part of the second millennium, the Moors created wonderfully decorative, enclosed and intimate gardens using many planters. Two famous gardens laid out in the middle of the fourteenth century, at the Alhambra and the Generalife in Granada, survive to this day. They have now been restored and, although they are not completely accurate reproductions of the originals, they still retain the essence of their early design and planting.
In Britain, early illustrated manuscripts of the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries show garden planters filled with plants growing in palaces and monastic gardens. It was not until the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries however, that there was a great blossoming of creative gardening. Inspired by the Italians, these designs frequently featured garden planters overflowing with all kinds of plants. In Northern Europe, citrus fruit trees were grown in garden planters (inside, safe from the outdoor elements), emulating the plantings of the Mediterranean countries. The fruit trees, in their garden planters, were then wheeled outdoors in the warmer weather to decorate formal paved areas.
The same inspiration fired the Victorians with enthusiasm. Production of all types of garden planters, small as well as large, proliferated during the nineteenth century. They manufactured copies of classical urns in cast iron as well as the traditional materials of wood, stone, lead, and terracotta. They made elaborate, garlanded and swagged garden planters for standing on terraces beside well manicured lawns, and in summer planted them with tender exotics that had been nurtured in their greenhouses. The Edwardians also cherished a great love of gardens. Conservatories were all the rage and they moved garden planters full of begonias, bellflowers, fuschsias and schizanthus from their conservatories into the garden and their homes to provide extra colour and interest. Today, garden planters are widely used and are in almost every garden.
Today, even though Gardens are naturally beautiful, they sometimes need that little bit extra. An arrangement of garden planters will add another dimension to your home and garden. A little extra colour and more style in areas where there is no soil, allowing you to enjoy your favourite plants anywhere you choose. Even people without gardens can have garden planters, window boxes or a hanging basket. Planters are invaluable in gardens where growing space is at a premium but they are also useful for decorating paved terraces, roof gardens or balconies.