Hanging baskets and tubs
May generally brings sunshine and the risk of frosts is past for another year. Now is a good time to think about planting up hanging baskets and tubs ready for beautiful summer displays.
Many plants will grow in baskets and tubs. The Garden Centre is bursting with ideas and colours. Annuals for colour, evergreen shrubs for structure and year round interest - let your imagination run wild!
Place hanging baskets on top of an old upturned pot to keep it steady whilst planting. You can tuck the chain away or take it off until you have finished planting. There are a number of liners to use in baskets - coco or jute is most common and are shaped to fit your basket. Spagnum moss looks good and retains water. Placing a small plastic sheet at the bottom of the basket out of sight will help with water retention.
If you wish to plant in the side of the basket, make a cut where you would like to plant, then fill the basket with compost to this point. Keeping the roots safe, push the plant through the side of the liner. Then fill the basket to the top with compost, leaving a 3cm gap between the top of the compost and the basket lip. Plant up the top as desired. We suggest an average basket would have a taller upright plant in the middle and trailing plants around the edge, using more lower growing upright plants (eg begonias) to fill any gaps.
Don't just use flowering plants - strawberries and tumbling tomatoes work very well in baskets. Strawberries will attract the birds, so keep an eye on your fruit!
If you have a greenhouse, keep the baskets inside for a week or two to let the plants settle in and establish. However, if frosts are over, this is not strictly necessary.
Use an oversize bracket to gain maximum distance from the wall to the basket to avoid damage in windy weather. Water daily, especially during warm weather. Feed weekly with a liquid feed such as tomorite.
Remove spent blooms from your plants to encourage plants to produce a succession of flowers.
Place in the garden and enjoy.