Persian Flower Pots

A Persian pot nestles next to Corydalis lutea (yellow fumitory).

What makes a flower pot Persian? Glowing, jewel-like colors, for one thing, as found on ancient Persian tiles. Geometric  decorative motives, for another. I have read that Islam prohibits portraying human beings and animals in its arts, and so their tiles, pots, and vases are decorated with repetitive patterns and calligraphy. To make our own Persian Flower Pots, we  paint terra cotta pots with jewel-tone ceruleans, cobalts, and teals, and then stencil.

These colors combat a problem we have in our Midwestern gardens, and that is the bleaching and flattening effect of the mid-day sun. Colors that might seem “bright,” like yellow, oranges, and reds, get lost in the garden shuffle by 1:30, but jewel-tones hold their own.

To make: Terra cotta pots (5″ across), FolkArt Outdoor Opaque paints in #1631 Cobalt and #4001 Wicker White, stencil (from Complements Stencils, BL-795 Bastille), 1-1/2″ across flat brush, stencil brush, measuring tape, piece of chalk, 2″ wide cellophane tape or non-stick masking tape, exterior satin varnish

Smoothly paint the terra cotta pot with your base coat, and allow to thoroughly dry. Measure around the circumference of the pot, and divide into three, lightly indicating the divisions with a chalk line. Carefully position your stencil and tape to the pot lightly, and stencil with the white paint. (Practice first.) Carefully remove the stencil, and allow the motif to completely dry before stenciling the next motif, making three motifs in all circling the pot. When completely dry, varnish the pot with exterior satin varnish. Allow to dry, and varnish again.

I taped off portions of this stencil that I didn't want to use.

Making this pot your own: I got this particular type of pot at Meier’s, but you could also use a traditional pot with a “cuff” around the top. There are other jewel colors, including deep ruby and emerald. The key is that the color is intense, and not pastel. I have seen stencils for stenciling tiles that would work here.

Here’s the pot in white.

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