Hang beautiful blooming baskets
Plant up lush, colourful hanging baskets o’ blooms for your summer garden
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!
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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