In the Country Gardens Fall 2006 issue there was a little article entitled Plucked from the Past.
I love these little planters. Known as Mother Earth Fruit and Vegetable Plant Growers, they were made by the Morton Pottery Company in Illinois and ceased production in the 50's. The article assured me they were readily available at flea markets, antique shops and thrift stores. I live in the Heartland...I haunt those kind of places....I have a new collection!!!
Here it is, 8 years later and I have found exactly ONE. (Make that two---I just found one on Etsy--sort of cheating in the seek-and-find- department, I know--- and it hasn't arrived yet; I should have waited until it came to write this, but that would be totally out of character for this spontaneous blogger.)
So, to date, in my possession-- ONE!
A carrot--considered the most common. The planters are not glazed on the outside, they are hand painted. Thus, each takes on its own distinct character. (The author of the article had 7-8 carrots---all different. He must not have been taught to share as a child, hording so many.)
So, in my rummaging through vintage treasures----I've discovered there must have been another company also making similar little gems. They have been slightly more easy to find....glazed on the outside.
I have a banana, a couple peppers, a couple lemons, a couple peaches, and a cucumber in the 'imitation' planters, but only one Morton carrot (soon to be joined by a squash---the second most commonly 'available' variety).
What good is a collection if it's not used....so, yesterday, I potted up a couple. I think the allure has something to do with picturing succulents in them...there is no drainage hole, so part of the little container must be filled with pebbles, leaving room for only the teeniest of plants.
I found several.
The cucumber holds Crassula argentea 'gollum', a South African native, considered to be a monstrose form of the jade plant. I'm hoping it self-roots easily like the jade, since those little 'fingers' in the very front are just stuck in the dirt, victims of jamming the plant in the planter.
The lemon has sedum hernandezii, a native of Puebla, Mexico. This one can grow up to 4", so I'm hoping the little container will stunt its growth.
Portulacaria afra is in the pepper. Known as 'Spekboom' by the African natives--or elephant bush, this plant can make up as much as 80% of an elephant's diet. (hoping it's safe on the window sill---if it's THAT tasty, I know some other furry someone who would probably give it a nibble.)
And finally, in the peach/plum/apple (never quite sure what this one is supposed to be) is anacampseros rufescens, also a South African native. Supposedly the leaves will turn purple in bright light. I'll let you know.
In case you, too, want to start a collection....there were supposedly 18 different fruits and vegetables made by Morton. I've seen photos of a pumpkin, red and green peppers, tomato, banana, red cabbage, lemon, apple, carrot (check--have!), summer squash (check---almost have!), and have heard about the rare, elusive eggplant. Wonder what the other 7 could be....
does anyone actually have any?!!?? Please, do tell!!!