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Advice on hanging baskets




I have decided that this week I will in-fact shine a light into the murky underworld of hanging baskets.

Like all good documentaries it has to begin with an interview featuring the host – me – and a shadowy silhouetted figure talking to camera with a disguised voice.

From here on in I will refer to this shadowy figure of the hanging basket underworld as Graham.

Hanging basket (47237154)
Hanging basket (47237154)

Graham, my researchers tell me, has spent over 35 years working within horticulture and is known for creating criminally beautiful hanging baskets.

Over his career he has made hanging baskets for the great and good of the Spalding area including Mrs Plummer and Miss Brooks. Though if asked they will deny it!

Graham takes me to his old stomping grounds where some of his most spectacular flowering arrangement were created and he begins to open up to me about how he likes to work.

Graham is an imposing character with hands the size of shovels – it is difficult to believe that from such monstrous digits such fine work is created.

I ask him in his own words to explain his technique. The secret to a great hanging basket is to choose quality, healthy plants and good quality compost such as Erin’s Tub and Basket Compost. It is blended specifically for hanging baskets and summer bedding plants.

Line your hanging basket with Sphagnum Moss or a specialist liner such as one made from coir, which is coconut husk.

Once you’ve lined your basket, cut out a small round circle of plastic from an old compost bag about the size of a side plate and place this in the centre of the basket.

This small circle of plastic will help hold on to a little reservoir of moisture. Half fill your basket now with compost. In this first layer we will plant our trailing plants such as trailing fuchsias and begonias.

You might need a knife to make holes in the liner – into these holes you will thread the plant with the roots laying on top of the compost layer and the flowers hanging from the outside.

Cover this layer with compost so that the compost is about two inches or five centimetres below the top of the basket.

In the centre of this top section plant your upright plants such as petunias, geraniums, verbenas and lobelias.

Around the perimeter you can plant a few more trailing plants which will soften the edge. Be careful when planting as to not damage the roots of the trailing plants below.

But if you’re careful you can really cram the plants in. The fuller you make your hanging basket look now the greater and more dramatic the display of colour will be.

Your hanging basket will need feeding to keep it looking its best and to promote growth.

You can either choose to feed it with slow release tablets which will last six months.

For this method you’ll need as a rough guide four tablets for a 12inch 30 centimetre hanging basket. Your other option is to use a liquid feed, though with this method it will require more regular feeding.

The mood changes as Graham spots a rival basketeer. I can sense that a basket off is on the cards so fearing for my own safety I run for cover. I don’t know what happened to Graham after that.

Just for your information, Graham our horticulturalist who has worked here at Baytree for over 35 years is definitely not the Graham mentioned here...



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