Hanging and wall baskets
You don't need to have a large garden with flower beds to enjoy the glorious colours of plants during the spring and summer. Even in a patio garden, you can create a colourful display using hanging or wall baskets. Hanging baskets are designed to hang from a wall bracket or from under an overhang. Wall baskets have a flat side so that the half round basket can be fitted to a wall - wall baskets have advantages where the position is very exposed to wind and can be mounted lower for easy maintenance.
You can of course, buy ready planted hanging and wall baskets, just hang them up and keep them watered but it's easy to make your own basket using your favourite trailing and bedding plants.
Hanging basket frames (made of either metal or plastic) are obtainable from garden centres, usually they include three chains attached so that they can be suspended. Wall baskets are also available, again made of either plastic or metal.
Before you start filling a basket, ensure that it is in a stable position, either by resting it on a large flower pot or bucket.
Line the basket before you start planting. Some baskets come pre-lined, or you could use a pre-formed liner, alternatively use fresh moss for a more natural look. Adding a polythene lining or a saucer at the base of the basket will reduce watering requirements.
Half fill the basket with some hanging basket compost. Press the compost into the basket and make several slits in the liner around the upper edges of the basket.
As a guide, plant one or two fair-sized plants (such as a bush geranium) in the middle of the basket. Arrange trailing plants, such as trailing fuchsia or lobelia, around the edge of the basket. Thread the root ball through the slits in the polythene so that the stems comfortably hang over the edge.
An upright centre-plant should be placed In the middle of the basket, with shorter bedding plants surrounding it and some additional trailing plants around the edges.
Top up the compost to about 2 cm (1 inch) from the top of the hanging basket, gently firm down the compost around each plant.
After planting is completed soak the basket thoroughly and allow it to drain, leave the basket for a couple of week in a position out of the wind to enable the plants to become established - keep the compost damp.
Before putting the basket in position, make sure that the mounting bracket is strong and firm, a well watered hanging basket is quite heavy.
The amount of watering required will largely depend upon where the basket is positioned, even when it is not directly in the sun there will be high evaporation during warm or breezy weather, keep the compost damp while the basket is in position.