The French Poteries

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Though my post several days ago on glazed French terra cotta was intended as an introduction to a discussion of color in the landscape, Delphine, author of that fine French landscape and garden blog Paradis Express ( published some of my photographs.  She was clearly pleased than an American landscape designer knew, placed and planted French garden pots.  The piece pictured above, featuring two pots from Les Enfant de Boisset, ran as an insert in the New York Times Sunday paper just before Mother’s Day in 2007.     

dgw c (97)I have been importing garden pots handmade at a number of French potteries since 1992-I am as crazy about them today as I was 18 years ago.  My very first purchase-a pallet of gorgeous cream colored clay pots from the Poterie Provencale in Biot. I am convinced a mutual love of beautiful objects for the garden overcame our language difficulties; I was so thrilled to get those pots.  Les Enfant de Boisset does not produce an olive green pot.  It was entirely Rob’s asking and their willingness to make a collection especially for us in this great color.    

DSC_0003Planted up, these pots make for an entire landscape in a very small space. French garden pots are made today in much the same way, and with many of the same designs that have existed for centuries. They clearly show evidence of the human hand, and speak to their long history of landscape and garden.  Some French poteries have added more modern designs, to round out their collections.  

dgw c (4)This yellow/brown glazed pot came from the Poterie De Cliousclat, a French pottery whose beginnings date back to the 16th century.  Rob once brought me a small book detailing the history of the pots; the pages of the book had absorbed the smell of the clay from the dirt floors of the pottery. Though Cliousclat is no longer, I will never forget their pots, or the smell of the poterie inseparable from that book.    

This white glazed pot is from the Poterie St. Jean de Fos, and is shown in the guarland pattern. This particular pattern features a rope garland.  

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The classic jarre from the Poterie Les Enfant de Boisset

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Classic jarre, planted

DSC00004Arrival of a shipment of pots from the Poterie Ravel

August 13 pictures 129Large Ravel pot, planted

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Ravel clay pot, painted and planted

Ravel “Violetta” pots

DSC04382Planted Violetta pots

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petit pots lisse from the Poterie Goicoechea, located in the Basque country of France

Planted pots from Goicoechea
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Jarre de Biot, from the Poterie Provencale, circa 1920

Aug 22 034 blue strie huile, from the Poterie de la Madeleine, in Anduze,  planted

dgw c (60) French huile, circa 1920
Gilbert _0002 Classic Anduze pot, Poterie de la Madeleine, in the flamme finish

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terra cotta jardiniere from Espace Buffon, Paris

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I greatly admire the French garden pots.  Though not pictured, we have bought many beautiful pots and ceramic garden pieces from the Poterie Provencale in Biot, Poterie du Mesnil de Bavant, Poterie Sampigny, salt glazed pots from Noron, gorgeous pots by Claudine Essautier at Raison de Plus, Jane Norbury-our list is long.  I am sure there are others I do not know-yet.  I hope each and every one of them goes on making beautiful things for the garden, for all the gardeners everywhere who so appreciate them.


  1. Beautiful! I had the opportunity to check out the amazing pottery at Detroit Garden works earlier this week. They are works of art empty or full. Thank you for the informative background info and history lesson!

    (FYI, I couldn’t get to Paradis Express via your link, but changing www. to http:// seemed to do the trick).

  2. Daniella says

    Oh my gosh! This is totally the inspiration I was looking for to bring to my local garden store… gorgeous post!

  3. Nancy Wilson says

    I would like to know if these Anduze pots come in a reddish glaze.

  4. Very lovely design work! Felicitations. My relatives come from Dieulefit… also known for its potters. You say that Cliousclat is NO MORE…. is that true??? Did they close down? How can that be? I’ve always wanted to visit there. I especially like their egoutoir a coverts and their pots with spouts. Also their vases.

  5. I had no idea that the zeros were so difficult to obtain. I ordered two ancienne among lots of other sizes at la Madeleine about 15 years ago and had them shipped to Perth, Australia, they arrived intact and have now been moved and repotted numerous times for various themes in our many homes.However I have never seen such beautiful displays and plantings such as yours to suit the pots. Our climate is very dry and hot. We have a heat wave at the moment this is our 5th over 40 degrees Celsius day, as you can imagine few plants are happy about this. At the moment the pots are both goldfish ponds under the shade of trees and the slightly smaller green pots are filled with agaves a nice combo actually.Thank you for the inspiration for the next home and your store is so beautiful too!

  6. I have two La Madeline Anduze pots. I absolutely love them. One is large pot with sort of unglazed light clay, including some green glazing over the name and adorning to he “wreath swag” design. The other is a smaller blue, fully glazed pot in the same traditional design. I live in NC, in zone 7B. Did I understand you correctly that I cannot leave them outside during bathe winter? Thanks so very much for any response!!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Catherine, when water freezes it expands. If you have temperatures below 32 in the winter, water absorbed by the clay can freeze and expand. But you should ask someone local to you for expert information. Thanks for reading, Deborah

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