Gardening by Clive Sullivan of Cameron
Landscapes and Ballylesson Garden Centre
IT'S not too late to prepare your summer hanging baskets and
for those of you who venture out into your garden for the
traditional barbecue season, here's how to spruce up your
patio. Conveniently situated at eye level and providing
terrific colour in vertical lines, hanging baskets can
transform restricted spaces.
Start by lining your basket
with moss or wool. (Tests have proved wool works just as
well as moss.) Then place a saucer at the bottom of your
basket to help water retention.
Shovel in two inches of wet compost then lay the rootless
of three trailing lobelia and two trailing Nepeta inside the
basket. gently pushing foliage through the wire and moss.
Add more wet compost then plant your Surfinias (three
should do for the top) and to finish if off nicely include a
Pelargonium in the middle of the basket.
Unlike in blue Peter I can't say 'Here's one I've made
earlier', so you'll have to picture it.
The lobelia will cascade quick colour, especially
important until your Surfinias bush out. The Nepata will
create the vertical lines of beautifully variegated foliage
while the action below will be matched by your flowering
Pelargonium reaching upwards.
Don't plant the roots too close - put at least two and a
half inches between plants. Annuals are hungry and thirsty
beasts so the real trick is frequent watering and feeding.
Baskets inevitably get neglected and dry out quickly, so
try to use weed control fabric on any exposed compost on top
of the basket to reduce evaporation.
You could also insert a plastic tube into the heart of
the basket to pour water straight down so that it reaches
the roots faster, a technique used on trees! A little
lateral thinking always helps.
Make a note to water daily in hot weather and check every
two days in fair weather - just lift up the basket and see
how heavy it is.
A final thought - what about a herb basket hanging next
to the barbecue? Just reach up and grab some fresh basil or
sage for your steak - delicious.
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