Cheery colour hang­ing high

Bas­kets of colour easy to do

Central Otago Mirror - - CLASSIFIEDS -

If the ground is wet and soggy, or just plain cold, there’s an op­tion to po­si­tion your flow­er­ing plants much higher up. Hang­ing bas­kets are a great way to add colour to your win­ter gar­den with many colourful flow­ers avail­able from your gar­den cen­tre. Look in the pot­ted colour sec­tion and you’ll find pan­sies, polyan­thus and cal­en­du­las, among oth­ers.

Later on you’ll get anemones, ra­nun­cu­lus and Ice­land pop­pies. Look for cinerarias too, and for some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent, try some­thing like a daphne or one of the win­ter heathers (Erica carnea).

I have grown clema­tis in large hang­ing bas­kets. You may not get as many blooms as you would if they were planted in the ground, but you do get a good smat­ter­ing if they are po­si­tioned well.

Try the flam­boy­ant clema­tis cir­rhosa Freck­les, a long­bloom­ing, hardy clema­tis with at­trac­tive glossy leaves year round. Its bell-shaped creamy blooms are heav­ily speck­led on the in­side and the petals start out rasp­berry red in colour then turn more pur­ple-red as they ma­ture. Freck­les puts on a ter­rific show in the cooler months.

Lans­downe Gem is an­other cir­rhosa clema­tis that flow­ers in win­ter with bell-shaped blooms that are creamy-pink on the out­side and red on the in­side. And the win­ter-flow­er­ing clema­tis cir­rhosa Wis­ley Cream has creamy bell-shaped blooms.

There are com­pact clema­tis, such as the Boule­vard clema­tis, that do very well in con­tain­ers but they typ­i­cally flower in the warmer months.

They are worth try­ing later on in the sea­son but you’ll need to en­sure they are wa­tered well and the tops are mulched to keep the roots as cool as pos­si­ble.

I have seen a labur­num in a hang­ing bas­ket too. Its golden yel­low pea-like flow­ers looked spec­tac­u­lar on dull days, like a shin­ing beacon in an other­wise colour­less gar­den.

Whichever plants you choose for your hang­ing bas­kets, use a good pot­ting mix that con­tains slow-re­lease fer­tiliser.

To keep your pot­ted colour flow­er­ing con­tin­u­ously, dead­head reg­u­larly and feed oc­ca­sion­ally with a bal­anced liq­uid fer­tiliser.

If you wish to plant on the side of your bas­ket, choose a container with a lin­ing that can eas­ily be cut, so plants can sim­ply be slot­ted in. A wicker hang­ing bas­ket may be pretty, but it’s im­pos­si­ble to cut through the sides.

While sphag­num moss is ideal for sum­mer plant­ings as it holds a good deal of mois­ture, a co­conut fi­bre lin­ing is ad­e­quate for win­ter.

Win­ter bas­kets will not need wa­ter­ing as of­ten as sum­mer bas­kets, though keep an eye on mois­ture lev­els just the same. In windy spots, mois­ture evap­o­rates much quicker.

Hard winds will also bat­ter your flow­ers, so keep your bas­kets in a shel­tered spot.

Heat re­flect­ing off sur­faces such as brick walls dur­ing win­ter is a good thing. Dur­ing sum­mer, on a scorch­ing day, plants may sim­ply wilt.

Hang­ing bas­kets po­si­tioned among de­cid­u­ous trees is a nice touch and pro­vides a lit­tle shel­ter. Or hang un­der the eaves of your house or on a porch or cov­ered pa­tio or deck.

Brighten up: A hang­ing bas­ket makes for cheer­ful win­ter colour.

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