Hang beau­ti­ful bloom­ing bas­kets

Plant up lush, colour­ful hang­ing bas­kets o’ blooms for your sum­mer gar­den

Better Homes and Gardens (Australia) - - February Contents -

the very essence of sum­mer’s flow­ery abun­dance, hang­ing bas­kets make gor­geous gar­den fo­cal points. Be­cause the blooms sit right at eye level, you get to en­joy them up close, so they de­liver tons of colour im­pact. Whether suspended from a ve­ran­dah ceil­ing, hooked over a per­gola beam, or hung from a fence bracket, hang­ing bas­kets cre­ate a flower scene wher­ever you want one – and what a scene!

BAS­KET BELLES

The most glo­ri­ous flow­er­ing bas­kets are the sum­mer ones, which you can put to­gether us­ing ad­vanced seedlings or pot­ted colour. Use your tal­ents with colour and com­po­si­tion to cre­ate some­thing re­ally stun­ning, filled to the brim with massed blooms and fes­tooned with drap­ing fo­liage. Or, if you’re af­ter some­thing a lit­tle more sim­ple, you can fill your bas­kets with a sin­gle plant species that of­fers a long run of sum­mer flow­ers – ivyleaved gera­ni­ums or cal­i­bra­choas are per­fect can­di­dates.

2 The ex­perts who put to­gether those gor­geous flow­er­ing bas­kets at nurs­eries fol­low a sim­ple plant­ing rule – an up­right bloomer in the cen­tre, sur­rounded by trail­ing flow­ers. Here, it’s a red petu­nia with a skirt­ing of ver­bena.

3 Wall bas­kets are a fab idea for bring­ing a lit­tle colour and green­ery to bare sur­faces, such as fences and shed walls. And all you need is a hang­ing hook. This vi­brant dis­play com­bines a var­ie­gated pelargo­nium with a pink be­go­nia.

4 One of the best shrubs for hang­ing bas­kets is the fuch­sia, with its pen­du­lous flow­er­ing stems. Here, a cerise and pur­ple va­ri­ety mixes it with pink Swan River daisies and pur­ple cal­i­bra­choas.

5 You can use hang­ing bas­kets to grow com­pact fruits and herbs too, and straw­ber­ries are one of the best can­di­dates. Be­cause the clus­ters of fruit hang over the sides, they don’t come into con­tact with the soil, and they’re eas­ier to pick, too. Just make sure you keep the birds away!

Hang a bas­ket of berries right by the back door

6 Usu­ally planted as a ground­cover or edg­ing plant, alyssum (Lob­u­laria mar­itima) pro­duces a ball of frothy white blooms when grown in a bas­ket. The flow­ers have a soft, honey-like scent and con­tinue for months through spring and sum­mer.

To dec­o­rate walls with hang­ing bas­kets,

at­tach an L-bracket at a con­ve­nient height – you need to be able to reach it to water and dead­head spent flow­ers. This glo­ri­ous cre­ation is a mix of fuch­sia, dou­ble petu­nia, blue lo­belia and sil­ver-leaved he­lichry­sum.

It doesn’t have to be com­pli­cated

to be beau­ti­ful. Take in­spi­ra­tion from this sim­ple dis­play – a soft pink pelargo­nium in a bas­ket hung with nat­u­ral hemp rope.

For a cool, re­fresh­ing colour scheme,

com­bine blue, mauve and pur­ple flow­ers such as petu­nia, lo­belia and con­volvu­lus, with sil­ver-leaved di­chon­dra. If you’re us­ing dec­o­ra­tive cane bas­kets, first line them with plas­tic, en­sur­ing there are drainage holes punched in the base.

Com­pose hang­ing bas­kets as you would flower beds, them­ing them in your favourite colours

Choose a bas­ket

There are all sorts of hang­ing bas­ket styles avail­able these days, in­clud­ing rus­tic cane and wicker, and even weath­ered metal ver­sions. There’s also the op­tion of re­pur­pos­ing house­hold items such as kitchen colan­ders and olive-oil cans – both of these styles look great planted with herbs or salad greens. But, if you want to cre­ate a lav­ish flower dis­play, the best choice is the tra­di­tional wire bas­ket with a liner. These let you plant into the sides as well as the top of the bas­ket, so you can pro­duce a ‘ball of flow­ers’ ef­fect.

Find the right spot

For a thriv­ing bas­ket full of sum­mer flow­ers, you need to choose a sunny spot. But avoid the hottest west­erly af­ter­noon sun, as hang­ing bas­kets can dry out quickly. Rather, go for a po­si­tion that gets morn­ing and mid­day sun, but of­fers a lit­tle shade late in the day.

Make sure you have a se­cure hang­ing point, as a fully planted bas­ket can be quite heavy – you’ll find a range of suit­able hang­ing hooks at hard­ware stores and nurs­eries. To al­ter the height of the bas­ket – and put it just where you can en­joy the best flow­ery view

– use metal chain and S-hooks. You can also dec­o­rate bare walls or fences with bas­kets, by at­tach­ing long-armed L-brack­ets and hang­ing from these.

Give it a lit­tle TLC

The most cru­cial as­pect of main­te­nance for hang­ing bas­kets is reg­u­lar wa­ter­ing – they’re thirsty creations with so many plants closely crammed into one con­tainer. In the heat of sum­mer, be pre­pared to water daily, or ev­ery sec­ond day, de­pend­ing on the weather con­di­tions (buy a long-armed water wand to make the job eas­ier). To keep the plants well nour­ished, in­cor­po­rate a slow-re­lease fer­tiliser into the pot­ting mix at plant­ing time, then en­cour­age the blooms to keep com­ing by feed­ing with a sol­u­ble fer­tiliser ev­ery two or three weeks.

10 Make fo­liage the star at­trac­tion, with a mixed plant­ing of heucheras in green, rust and bur­gundy tones. It’s a per­fect scheme for sem­ishaded spots, with the added ap­peal of flower sprays in sum­mer.

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