So I was delighted to find The Distinctive Planter Company's products tucked away in a corner at the Garden Press Event last month (if you're not familiar, it's a horticultural trade shindig where you can see lots of new gardening products all in one room).
Their planters are made from 75% clay and 25% recycled plastics, lightweight yet tough and frostproof: a big plus if after the last few winters your supposedly frostproof terracotta pots are now crumblier than a slice of Wensleydale cheese. Plus, unlike many of the plastic pots masquerading as terracotta, ome of these are remarkably pretty and realistic - I particularly liked the grey marble bowl (pictured above) from the Aegean Collection (40cm x 20cm £24.99 + £4.99 P&P): it's just a shame they don't come in larger sizes (although the company's Nigel Guffogg tells me they're on the way) - they'd make a great water feature.
At the moment they're only available via Amazon - and the range is very limited, but they're hoping to sell to garden centres soon: if you like them, lobby your local garden centre to buy some in! Their sandstone and slate grey troughs (£39.99 + £7.99 P&P) look good too. Their only demerit is the air miles involved - they're made in China - but at least they'll last for years and years.
If you want a new planter NOWNOWNOW, though (and we all know how impatient us gardeners an be) this verdigris tall metal planter from Crocus (pictured left) is gorgeous, and not bad at £42.99 for those that will last forever. If you're feeling flush, these vintage dolly tubs from The Balcony Gardener are gorgeous too if pricey at £125.