Patience Atkinson-Gregory of horticultural suppliers Amberol explains how self-watering containers can transform urban areas. 

Councils, landscapers and businesses are increasingly using floral planters to make a statement in Britain’s public spaces. And it’s not hard to see why. Containers are more mobile, flexible and versatile than traditional flower beds.

They can be used to create quirky features, smarten up neglected areas and brighten up grey areas with a splash of instant colour.

Furthermore, by using the new generation of self-watering containers, plants are more likely to thrive as they are grown in optimal conditions, whilst reducing maintenance demands and conserving water.

With a built-in water reservoir to reduce evaporation, Amberol’s range of self-watering containers need watering just once or twice a week – even in the hottest, driest weather. Because plants take up moisture as and when required, it’s also impossible to overwater your displays. In addition, Amberol containers have a double walled construction to offer increased insulation which keeps plants cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Our three top tips for creating a great display

Variety is the spice of life – regular shapes and patterns can work well, but it’s also good to use containers of different styles and sizes to make a display more interesting. Draw the eye to different levels, by varying the height and position of your containers. Our barrier baskets can be used for railings and frontages, whilst self-watering hanging baskets and up-the-pole baskets give your display height and variety – and unlike traditional thirsty hanging baskets, need only be watered once or twice a week.

Create a centrepiece – smaller containers can be very effective and versatile, but if you are creating a display in a larger public space, you need to think big. Amberol’s beehive and fountain planters create fantastic floral cascades of colour and form stunning centrepieces of many public displays up and won the country.

Material matters – make sure you choose a planter that is robust and fit for purpose. Whilst ceramic and terracotta pots look good, they are prone to cracking. Wood rots over time and metal containers are susceptible to external temperatures and may also rust. These containers may look good when new, but rarely stand the test of time. All Amberol’s containers are made of carbon friendly recyclable polyethylene to ensure that they last for years. Some of our designs are even manufactured to look like wood, wicker, terracotta – and even stone.

Coming soon!

Amberol is about to launch some very special new additions to their range of self-watering containers. The company has extended its popular barrel range with a new half barrel, suitable for smaller spaces in towns and villages. The new beehive planter with a smaller base also takes up less room on the pavement, whilst creating maximum impact. But most exciting of all is the new stone effect planter. Modelled on a reclaimed stone trough from Yorkshire with the authentic surface texture of stone, it’s the very first of its kind in the UK. Measuring one metre long and 0.6 metres deep, it is sure to be a great addition to any floral display. It may look and last like the real thing, but it is lighter, can be easily moved – and of course needs watering only once a week.

Amberol’s planters in action

But don’t just take our word for it. We are constantly amazed at the inventive ways that our customers use our containers to create fantastic displays.

Nottingham city centre was the site of an amazing floral trail in 2015 for the third consecutive year. Sponsored by Nottingham Business Improvement District (BID) and Nottingham City Council, the trail comprised 12 specially designed willow sculptures woven around Amberol’s self-watering containers. These flowered throughout the summer to create stunning displays across the city. The initiative proved popular with visitors and residents alike, bringing a valuable economic boost to the city.

Belfast City Council use Amberol’s self-watering containers across their historic city centre, from parks to public buildings and shopping areas. “The beautiful floral displays give the people of Belfast a real sense of pride in their communities as well as giving visitors to the city a warm welcome,” comments Philip Doherty of Belfast City Council’s Parks & Leisure Department. As a means of offsetting the cost, the city also runs a sponsorship scheme, with a number of businesses opting to sponsor baskets and towers.

Shrewsbury in Bloom, crowned Champion of Champions in Britain in Bloom 2014 attribute much of their success in the nationwide competition to their Amberol self-watering containers. Around 300 hanging baskets are planted up around the centre supported by local businesses whilst over 300,000 seasonal plants are grown each year at the council’s Weeping Cross Centre, with 140 barrier troughs and 160 poles planted up around the town.

So, if you are looking to create a stunning display or beautify a community area, remember that self-watering containers can make an eye catching feature and help transform a place from drab to fab. To find out more about Amberol containers, call 01773 830 930 or email sales@amberol.co.uk and quote the reference URBAN DESIGN.  www.amberol.co.uk

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