My discount supermarket hanging baskets are great

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I think I mentioned a few months ago that the spring hanging baskets came down and the summer ones went up much later than usual because of the dreary weather.

When we took the old ones down, intending to empty the baskets later, I hung them, temporarily, on an empty obelisk, where they have remained ever since. There is nothing more permanent than most temporary jobs.

These baskets contain what was called, by the discount supermarket I bought them from, ‘autumn collections’, comprising mainly a dwarf grass (Festuca glauca); a repeat-flowering dianthus (a kind of miniature sweet William); the ubiquitous ivy; a small conifer (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Elwoodii’); a Senecio cineraria, and a miniature cyclamen, to which I added either a Thymus serpyllum or a variegated pineapple mint to pack them out.

Nothing special, but they looked great for several weeks, the dianthus and cyclamen flowering non-stop against the foliage contrast of grey, silver and green.

Even when the frosts took out the cyclamen, they still warranted leaving in situ until my summer baskets were at last ready for leaving the greenhouse.

A few days ago, thinking it was high time I made a start on planting my winter/spring baskets, I went to remove and empty these left-overs from last year, to find they looked better than 12 months ago, far too good to discard, even if the individual plants were removed and replanted elsewhere.

Admittedly, I had given them a drop of water from time to time, when I thought about it, but that was all.

I immediately gave them a good soaking with Miracle-Gro (my favourite remedy for all plant ills), then all that was needed were replacements for the defunct cyclamen to make a good display from now until next May. A heuchera, well-grown pansy or Sweet William did the job perfectly.

There is a lot to be said for winter baskets that are predominantly foliage as, whatever the weather, they always look interesting, while baskets of pansies and violas tend to go out of flower during the coldest months and other spring flowering plants, such as forget-me-nots and primulas, don’t come into their own until around March.

These baskets are now having a little rest and some tender, loving care in my well-ventilated greenhouse, then they will be more than ready to replace the summer once when they finally give up the ghost.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that the money I’ve saved will stay in my pocket for long, as there are plenty of other containers needing a facelift this autumn.

That’s gardening, I suppose.