HANGING gardens are a great way to brighten up a verandah or townhouse balcony with a floral display in a minimum of space.
I say hanging gardens rather than hanging baskets because I frequently see hanging baskets in gardens where the plants have long died and, yes, one is left with a hanging basket.
The ideal liner for baskets is foam carpet underfelt, the one with plastic on one side and multi-coloured foam on the other. Place the plastic on the inside, making a few holes for drainage.
I have baskets in our garden many years old using this type of liner and it still looks good. Usually, you can pick up offcuts from most carpet firms at minimal or no cost. The problem with other lining material, such as coconut liners, is that the birds just love it for nesting material.
Another minor problem is that water drains through most potting mix too quickly causing rapid drying out. While we may curse clay in the garden, one useful way to retain moisture considerably longer is to mix one third clay with two thirds premium potting mix.
When hanging the basket, a toggle clip will enable the basket to be rotated on a regular basis.
Now, to the plants. Use trailing plants in the mix of annuals such as ivy geraniums or Parahebe “Oxford Blue”.
Be more adventuresome with a variety of plants rather than just one plant and, for baskets in full sun, plant a mixture of geraniums, begonias, petunias, nasturtiums and lobelia. For baskets in partial shade, try Gardenia radicans, fuchsias, impatiens, viola and dwarf ferns.I’M sure most gardeners want a plant to show off in their garden that no other gardener has.
An example of a hard-to-get but stunning plant is Daphne napolitana, pictured here just coming into flower in our garden. As its name suggests, it is a native of the Naples area in the Mediterranean, loves summer heat, is drought tolerant and not worried by Canberra’s cold winters. This is a many-branched, compact shrub that grows to about 1m high x 1.2m wide with very small, leathery, dark-green leaves. It’s tiny purple-pink flowers appear in abundance almost hiding the foliage when in full flower.
- Prune citrus trees to keep them to a manageable size for easy picking.
- Trim frost-damaged foliage from evergreen shrubs.
- Plant herbs as fillers among the general garden beds at the same time as discouraging pests.
- Prune scraggly, old growth off clematis once the new shoots emerge.
- Try planting blueberries and azaleas together, they both like the same type of acid soil.
- The Australian Native Plant Society’s spring plant sale is at the Botanic Gardens, 8.30am-1.30pm, on Saturday, October 15, with more than 9000 plants to choose from. Bring your own bags and boxes.
- The Bundanoon Garden Ramble will be on the weekend of October 22-23 with eight private gardens open 9.30am-4.30pm. Tickets are $20 for all gardens or $5 a single garden. Tickets from the Soldiers Memorial Hall. More information at bundanoongardenramble.org.au