As we prepare for spring, the His & Hers team is looking for some nice easy ways to get in touch with nature – think making hanging baskets and treating ourselves to bunches of daffodils for some virtual sunshine indoors, rather than anything drastic like mountain climbing or camping out in the cold. We don’t want to get that close to nature! If you’r also keen to celebrate the change of seasons (while only getting your hands a little bit dirty) we have some green fingered inspiration for you…
Hanging baskets are often used to brighten up a garden, patio, balcony or entrance. However, as His & Hers is learning, it’s not as simple as using bedding plants and hanging them up. Depending on the season, the floral display you can have will alter. It may sometimes seem like a less-than-important task for those who aren’t avid gardeners, but beautifully displayed hanging baskets can make your space really stand out. And, as the variety of flowers available continues to expand year on year, we look at some of the staple foliage which is best for each season.
Getting started: Here’s what to look for when shopping around for your hanging baskets
Before you start trying to arrange your basket, you must know what makes for an appealing display. You should always make sure the plants are healthy looking and young when you buy them. If they’re looking dry and have yellowing leaves, avoid them — they’ve probably been hanging around for a while!
Next up, no matter how tempting, try to steer clear of mixing up your colours too much. Of course, a bit of variety is always important, but don’t overpower your display by having too many focal points. Pick two or three subjects and buy a few of each to create a fantastic and evenly spread display.
His & Hers’ tips on how to plant a hanging basket
Typically, the principles of creating your basket will be the same no matter what time of year you create it. With a standard wire basket, you must line it first. You should aim to cover the inside of your basket with approximately a 1.5cm layer of material and then add enough compost to fill half of your basket. For wicker baskets, it’s best to use a sturdy plastic liner. You can also get ceramic and plastic baskets and you should remember that no matter what style you choose, you need a sturdy wall bracket to allow the basket to hang. Once you have chosen you basket and safely secured it, it’s time to choose your plants.
To get the best out of your winter baskets, prepare them between September and October. Don’t worry if they frost over, as the flowers you choose should be hardy. Erica Carnea (winter-flowering heathers) are the perfect choice for this. There is a wide range available, including the Myretoun Ruby, which is an evergreen shrub that has dark green foliage with deep rose-pink flowers and blooms from winter to spring. If you’d prefer a lighter colour, the Golden Starlet would be a welcome addition to your basket, with its yellow-green foliage. In the winter to spring months, this plant will flower white.
Come the spring months, if you’ve prepared your garden correctly, you can be ready to experience delightful displays. Your hanging baskets should follow an appealing colour scheme, including mixing white with purple, putting yellows with purples, or choosing to create a white, pink and purple display. Perfect plants for this include daisies, primulas and pansies. All can be planted any time from September before coming to life between February and May.
Why not add daffodils to a basket? Miniature versions, such as Tete-a-Tete, can stand proud in the centre of your basket and, if kept in sun or partial shade, will flower through March and April.
Summer time means you can branch out to a brighter floral display. You should aim to plant your summer baskets from April, but make sure you protect them from frost until near the end of May. One great way to do this is by keeping them in your greenhouse and using a greenhouse gas heater. If you don’t have a greenhouse, it’s usually easier to simply plant in situ once the frosty period has passed.
Try adding some calibrachoa to your hanging basket. Also known as Million Bells, this member of the petunia family has fine stems with pale green leaves. In a tiny trumpet-shape, this flower will bloom nicely in the summer months. It’s important to note, though, that due to its delicacy, it needs to be handled with extreme care in its infancy. Once it does bloom, it has great staying power and will range from pastel to vibrant, making it perfect for any colour scheme you may choose.
If you choose a terracotta shade, try them with blue petunias. This plant is world-renowned for its flower power and weather resistance and can help create a cascade of colour from your hanging basket.
Just because the summer months and many glorious ranges are coming to an end as autumn draws in, you shouldn’t just abandon your hanging basket. Instead, it’s a simple clear-out that’s needed. However, don’t take too much time over this, as the growth rate of your plants will be slowing as the temperatures begin to dramatically fall. Due to other foliage and displays more than likely lacking in colour by this point, don’t be afraid of adding colour to your basket to liven up your space.
Look to get such colour in your display by planting specimens of conifers alongside ornamental grasses and evergreen shrubs. These shrubs are the ideal way to provide height in the centre of your basket, while grasses such as Festuca glauca can help cover any gaps and add extra shades of colours.
With hanging baskets being a great way to create a tidy display, using the above guides can help you get your gardens looking great all year round. Enjoy seeing your masterpieces come to life!
We’re very proud to bring you this feature in association with Suttons. For more inspiration for your home and garden, please pay a visit to our interiors page.