How to Make Hanging Flower Baskets Safe
Hanging Flower Baskets
Make them Safe
People must be able to pass safely under your, and if either a basket or is to be over any kind of pathway, pavement, road, or patio, make doubly sure that it is safely fixed. Just well-grown geraniums look very pretty when displayed like this. Don’t skimp on buying hooks that really are large enough and strong enough. If the hook screws too easily into a beam, for instance, it may well be that there is wood rot present. All hanging chains, wires, screws, and other supports, brickwork, stucco, and woodwork should be checked yearly without fail to see that all is still safe, for things deteriorate. A good idea is to use two hooks instead of one.
Many people like to hang a flower basket above a window so that it can be seen from inside the house, but do be careful about this. Gales can blow up at all times of year and a site you thought was sheltered can become a windy whirlpool, making your basket into a wind-driven battering-ram. A friend of mine had a large sitting room window broken by a hanging flower basket which ran amok! It is worth experimenting with the empty basket, to see how much room it needs to swing in, before planting and installing it.
Select a spot for hanging any kind of basket with care. It is asking for trouble, for instance, to place a basket of delicate ferns on the corner of the house where it will be subject to constant winds. Indeed, a windy site is very difficult and if possible should be avoided. Wind is possibly even worse than sunshine for drying out a basket almost before you have turned your back on it. If you must plant in a draughty spot, choose subjects such as stonecrop, sedums, plectranthus, or geraniums, which will put up with a certain amount of ill-treatment. Most ferns require a moist, still atmosphere to do really well, and a north facing aspect may be chosen.
Where to Position Your Basket
Don’t always go the way of the crowd — be original. Smaller houses are cosy and intimate and it is nice to be able to look into our hanging flower baskets, get to know them and enjoy them, so wall baskets, can be placed at eye level. It is pleasant as we go to put the key in the door to discover, for example. that many quite ordinary annuale.g., some petunias) are deliciously scented. I always put a few wallflowers in my little conservatory, in a nose-high wall basket, and enjoy weeks of their scented company. You don’t have to be rich to feel rich!
By placing mirrors opposite or just behind a hanging basket you can give the effect of masses of expensive profusion at no extra cost. A cane-work tray placed behind a wall basket makes a good setting for plants, giving them an added importance and impact and creating a neat picture for the centre of a plain wall.
All climbers and such things as ordinary geraniums andas they mature will trail as well as climb if not supported, and often look more naturally at home, and certainly different, if allowed to fall gently over the rim of the basket. rather than being pinned up to sticks or twisted round wires. Most hanging baskets need trailers, and some good ones include ajuga (bugle), ivies. tradescantia, and columnea.
Another means of getting an original look is to plant up hanging flower baskets to colour-match window boxes and terrace pots. And a hanging basket of one sort of plant in mixed or matching colours can be most effective, in that it is less usual and achieves a look of having been planned.
In choosing plants for hanging flower baskets, there is a wide range of hardy and half-hardy subjects; the hardy ones making permanent plantings with all-yearround interest possible. I always have a number of my own baskets planted up with suitable hardy border plants such as the variegated periwinkle, perennial pansies (viola cornuta), dwarf campanulas, and violets. Some of my most attractive baskets are simply made up of mixed foliage plants.
For permanent indoor decoration or for summer out of doors, baskets of maidenhair fern are attractive and other plants I use are fittonia, peperomia, pilea, chlorophytum, ceropegia (a trailing succulent from Africa) and chenille plant acalypha hispida).
I generally leave a space in the centre of any hanging flower basket to take the odd flowering pot plant, for it is amazing how, when a basket has been looking fabulous and spilling flowers as if they would never stop blooming, it suddenly decides to take a rest as soon as I invite visitors round. At Christmas I sometimes add extra colour with a scarlet ribbon bow (there is a waterproof ribbon available for outdoors), and berried.
No matter what the time of year, it should never be necessary to use artificial flowers in a hanging basket – here are just a few ideas:
- Basket lined with moss or arenaria balearica, thyme, or any suitable low-growing alpine plant; top planted with pansies, double daisies, golden alyssum;
- small bulbs such as muscari, crocus, scilla, and puschkinia planted in the sides and top;
- larger bulbs such as hyacinths and dwarf tulips in the top only. For the top and for sprawling over the edge try euphorbia epithymoides with its splendid yellow-green flowers and bracts and grey snakey leaves, plain or gold foliage lysimachia (creeping Jenny), anthemis cupaniana (fine grey foliage with white flowers), tiarella cordifolia (the foam flower, with heart-shaped leaves and white foaming flowers).
- For very large baskets, dicentra spectabilis is superb, with its pink dangling heart-shaped flowers and pretty foliage.
- Lining as for spring, or you can use dwarf campanula.
- Plant up your hanging basket with tuberous and fibrous rooted begonias, and the pendulous varieties which have an obvious application to hanging flower baskets;
- all kinds geraniums, fuchsias, petunias, nasturtium, marigold, coleus, Busy Lizzie, (impatiens), ajuga (bugle), schizanthus (poor man’s orchid, campanula isophylla, helichrysum petiolatum. or almost any suitable-looking hardy or half-hardy plant lifted from the garden, bought from a nursery, or raised from seed (not forgetting trailing lobelia).
- Lining as for spring and summer.
- Planted with dwarf chrysanthemum, autumn crocus and colchicum (the double purple colchicum Water Lily is particularly striking : these should be removed from the hanging flower basket before their huge spring foliage arrives.
- Try also arum italicum pictum, an especially handsome hardy plant with orange berries and patterned green arrow-like leaves as interesting as any exotic indoor plant, and any low-growing variegated foliage shrubs such as .
- Lining as above, or with plain or variegated arabis, violets, thrift, or any alpine with good close foliage.
- Top planted with winter-flowering heathers or heathers with colourful winter foliage, young plants of hebe armstrongii with its khaki-coloured foliage, arum. italicum pictum, lamium maculatum (its hanging foliage has a silvery stripe), the grey woolly foliage stachys lanata, tiarella (pink-green leaves in winter), saxifrage (silver encrusted rosettes), and sempervivum (houseleek, in many colours).