Now here’s an pair of unusual and low-maintenance pots. They’re outside The Providores, a restaurant on Marylebone High Street which is always packed, whatever the time of day. The executive chef, Peter Gordon, is a Kiwi and these plants – Pseudopanax crassifolius (or maybe P. ferox?) and Muehlenbeckia complexa – hail from New Zealand.
Inspired by The Providores, my old flatmate had these exact same plants in huge pots in his garden, and they looked pretty striking. When my sister visited with my five-year old nephew, Joe, she asked what they were and whether the muehlenbeckia could be ‘trained’ (I think she meant clipped into a shape) like box. I said I didn’t think so.
Moments later we found Joe barking orders at the muehlenbeckia. He was pointing his finger at it and shouting ‘GROW!’ ‘MOVE!’ ‘SPEAK!’. He looked distinctly unimpressed when it didn’t respond to his orders.