The saga of the garden saggars.

I thought I would share with you a little bit of local history which will be familiar to any visitor from Stoke-on-Trent, sometimes referred to as "The Pot Bank". Over the course of the last ten years many of the world famous ceramic companies in our area have closed or relocated. A friend of ours, from one such pottery, gave us some old saggars - these are the rectangular containers, now acting as plant pots.

Believe it or not there was once such an occupation as "a saggar maker's bottom knocker". In case your wondering, a saggar is a special fireclay container for protecting pots during firing and a saggar maker was a skilled craftsman. Sometimes a lesser skilled person made the bottom part by placing the clay in a metal hoop and knocking it into shape, hence the name. ( you can read more about the history here.)

As you can see, they make rather nice containers for small plants such as sedums, alpines etc. Sadly, over the course of a dozen or so winters, the frost has taken its toll and I am now afraid to move them in case they fall apart all together. As you can see, my trusty garden helper has once again got in on the act, I have never known such a nosey dog!


  1. The saggars do make lovely planters don't they? Your ones look lovely with the sedums and alpines in. There must be a wealth of super smells and sensations for a little dog amongst those. Now my cats would probably see them as outside litter trays as they do our raised beds:) It is such a shame that many of the old factories and manufacturers names have gone. So many seem to have closed or merged sine we first came to live in Stoke about 12 years ago.

  2. I love the title of this blog."The saga of the garden saggers"..wonderful.And now i know what a sagger is!!

  3. I was just thinking of how difficult it would be to put your occupation on forms that require it if you were... a Saggar Maker's Bottom Knocker!

    These did make nice containers for planting, and I am trying to think of ways to save natures effects on them. Could you wrap a strong wire around them and twist tightly to hold them together? Or peel the broken shards off carefully and then use rock or tile to bolster the plants? (Supposing you prefer to leave the plants where they are?)

  4. Saggar Maker's Bottom Knocker--sounds like an excellent profession! I like the rough-hewn look of your saggar planters--hope they don't go entirely to pieces.

  5. They look really lovely with the plants inside. The nicest plant holders are always the natural kind :)
    We`re finally getting some sun here and but tonight with the humidity,,,,,yuck...it`s rained a bit.


  6. I do like a nosy dog! This is so interesting about the potteries. What a job title, a saggar maker's bottom knocker, you couldn't make it up if you tried. I really like the containers, perfect for sedums, sempervivums and the like. x