Hanging Flower Baskets and Container Gardening

colorful hanging basket

Designs and Trends In Container Gardening

Perhaps it was the last war, when every bit of land was needed for food production, which brought the small stirrings of a renewed interest in container gardening for flowers and ornamental plants.

Most homes today, with their small gardens, or because they have no garden at all, possess at least one plant in a pot, and hanging baskets, window boxes, and patio planters are becoming yearly more popular. A local pottery in my home town, well known for its garden pots, cannot turn them out fast enough to keep up with demand, and a wholesaler friend tells me that whereas hanging baskets were in no demand at all a few years ago, he can hardly get enough of them nowadays.

Growing plants in containers of all kinds makes gardening a possibility for everyone, from the residents of picturesque but hemmed-in cottages such as those of old St. Ives in Cornwall (where I have seen herbs and vegetables as well as flowers in window boxes) to the people on houseboats. Indeed, town dwellers in various parts of the country seem very expert in creating mini-gardens in difficult places, and on a bigger scale local authorities work wonders with tree plantings (often in only a few feet of soil), and beautifully planted boxes, old horse troughs, and so on, in streets and squares.

The City of London has its very own ‘hanging gardens’ in the Barbican complex, with over a hundred huge planting ‘boxes’ supporting forest trees which sometimes have to be planted by crane! It is the City Corporation’s admirable policy to acquire any bit of land on which to make a garden, plant a tree, or stand a flower tub, and the idea is certainly catching on in other concrete and glass forests.

All these examples can encourage the average person who wants to create something beautiful, no matter how small the space available, in and around an ordinary house or flat. With enthusiasm and a little know-how you can overcome difficulties and have colourful flowers and refreshing foliage almost all the year round.

The advantages of container gardening for the elderly and handicapped are obvious, and I also particularly like to think of children being encouraged to take an interest in gardening ha this way. Planting up a basket or window box with plants bought with pocket money is fun and leads to speedy results which will delight the most impatient child. The secret is to involve the children from the beginning, in choosing the basket or box and deciding what is to be grown. The time to start is spring, when the shops and market stalls are bright with blooms of tempting colours.

Ideas we can copy are everywhere. I am always inspired by the lovely hanging baskets of flowers which seem to be used throughout the City of Bath, for example. Simply keep your eyes open as you go about, to see what local councils are planning, what the bank in the High Street has in its important-looking window boxes, what the shops and hotels have used in their splendid foyer displays of greenery and flowers.

The more we look, the more creative we become, and the more interesting it all is. Even small towns and villages can teach us things. For summer colour most people would plant up tubs in a pedestrian precinct with geraniums, but in a small town I saw concrete tubs in the streets given an enchantingly different look by massing them with nothing but white marguerites. I aim to copy that on my terrace next year.

30. September 2010 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Container Gardening, Gardening Ideas, Hanging Baskets, Window Boxes | Tags: | Comments Off on Hanging Flower Baskets and Container Gardening


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