repurposing a chimney pot

One of the stranger things we packed into the back of the removal lorry when we came out to Istria, was the large clay, chimney pot which had been removed from the roof of our West Didsbury house, when we were renovating it, because it was redundant. I’m not sure why we didn’t just leave it in the garden, but packing up your whole life probably makes you do things that don’t make total sense at the time. Anyway, the soot stained pot – which is large and resembles an oversized chess piece – has been in various locations, around our garden here. None of which have really been perfect and in all honesty, we have really questioned at times, why we were keeping it. It has been planted up with various plants, none of which were ever right, and in its last incarnation, it was a receptacle to house brooms, rakes and shovels. So, looked a bit of a mess. It’s also ingrained with black soot – even our high pressure water washer couldn’t shift it and so all in all, it just wasn’t the prettiest, But for some reason, we’ve persevered with it, thinking that one day, we’d do something with it. After all, it had come all the way from West Didsbury and survived a winter in the garden, when the big house renovations started, back in 2018, so we reasoned it deserved a chance.

Fast forward six years from the photo above, and we’ve moved on an awful lot. The exterior of the house (and the interior, thank goodness), is now largely finished, and we’re in that great place where we are tweaking and accessorising to our hearts’ content. And so, at the weekend, we made a decision about the chimney pot and gave it a whole new lease of life, by sanding it down and spray painting it white. The sooty residue can’t be budged, so this has started to show through, along with the greeny tinge around the base – bit this just adds to its rustic charm now.

A variety of plectranthus – with already a very strong aroma of incense – has been planted up, and its tendrils falling over the top of the pot. These will hopefully grow and we’ll finally have a splendid chimney pot. It’s also the first new addition to the rear garden – last year, this all felt so new and we were a bit unsure about how to style this garden, beside our white stones and olive trees and ornamental palms. But this year, we’ve got used to our new space, and we don’t feel as in awe of it, and so we have some big plans for what we call our Secret Garden. We’ve already started on our plans for the white concrete wall which runs alongside the access road, which we’ve covered in white stones, and which we share with one neighbour. It’s involving a lot of wood and cutting and painting, as well as pots of Fallopia Baldschuanica (Russian Vine) which have been planted up, ready to go into position. But for now, we’re pretty delighted with our upcycled West Didsbury chimney pot…

Published on 6th February 2024