Getting the hang of floral displays

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Be the envy of your neighbours with floral displays, one of a dozen such hanging gardens along the front of a restaurant in Scotland.

Gardening writer CEDRIC BRYANT says it’s time to create floral displays in baskets or containers, which can last throughout autumn.  

A STUNNING floral display can last throughout summer and autumn.

Cedric Bryant.

Britain is renowned for its floral baskets, hanging in front of pubs and cafés, and the enviable look can be achieved here.

The size of the basket is important; the larger it is, the more moisture will be retained, and a greater variety of plants can be used. For a stunning display, baskets 40-50cm wide work well.

A small basket of 20-30cm is fine for a single display of petunias, for example, but baskets of this size will dry out quicker. 

Line the basket with foam carpet underfelt with the blue plastic on the inside, adding a few holes in the bottom for drainage. Add a few holes on the sides as well, and gently push the roots of the bedding plants through into the potting mix. Use a premium-grade potting mix. 

Large baskets can be heavy when wet, so when hanging from veranda beams, the hooks need to be substantial, and ones that swivel allow the basket to be turned every couple of weeks.

Create a mixed floral display in containers.

For bright colours in full sun, a combination of geraniums and ivy geraniums, petunias, nasturtiums, alyssum, dianthus [pinks], and marigolds will look stunning. 

Let the imagination run wild as to the variety of plants, with most perennials suitable. 

For herbs, choose a large basket. Pennyroyal, chives, sage, marjoram and parsley can all be used; though herbs need full sun, so a shady veranda may not be ideal. Baskets can also be hung in trees, on a sturdy branch. Thread the hook through a section of old garden hose to prevent it cutting into the bark.

Hanging gardens and pots dry out very quickly in summer, especially when in full sun and with reflected heat. Most will need watering every few days and possibly every day, if exposed to hot winds. Have someone water all the potted plants if going away, and feed baskets regularly with a certified organic liquid seaweed. This is especially important after potting up the plant, to encourage strong new root growth.

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Cedric Bryant
Trained horticulturist and garden designer with over 30 years experience in the industry.

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