Brian Kidd goes on a feeding frenzy to keep his baskets in tip top condition

Hanging beauty - but only if you feed and deadhead regularly.
Hanging beauty - but only if you feed and deadhead regularly.
Treat them well and phalaenopsis could flower for nine months.

BRIAN KIDD: Just perfect for winter: these orchids love central heating

  • Feed hanging baskets every other day
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The hanging baskets are looking good because they have been fed and watered regularly – a little liquid feed every other day.

Using the minimum amount of food is best because the plants live in a very small amount of compost.

You’ll be the envy of the neighbourhood

Brian Kidd

Just think about it. Every time they are watered the food they require is washed out of the compost. A bucket on the ground below the basket prevents wasting water and can be used for another one.

Try to find a liquid feed for the flowers which remains active in the basket. There is one called Maxicrop Complete liquid plant food which has a seaweed base. When used in a watering can the compost absorbs the feed and the roots penetrate the compost and absorb the elements they need to grow and flower.

There are four types of Maxicrop and they are all available at garden centres. I use Maxicrop Complete for almost everything in the garden. There is another especially for tomatoes and another called ‘plant stimulator’ which is good if your plants are not growing well. It gives them a bit of oomph.

The final type contains sequestered iron – excellent for plants that need extra iron. Hydrangeas, azaleas and rhododendrons benefit from this feed and heathers romp away after just one application.

During our usual cool summers it’s a good idea to use Maxicrop for tomatoes, but when it’s hot plants don’t need so much potash so it’s a good idea to change to Maxicrop Complete liquid feed.

I am sure you know this concentrated fertiliser is added to your cans of water. The dilution rates are on the container and a container of the feed lasts a long time.

The flat-backed, round-fronted baskets which fit on a wall are doing really well. This is because the wall stops them from drying out in hot weather. The plants are also protected from the wind because they don’t fly around. Feed them regularly and they should produce a mass of blooms and foliage.

To keep the plants growing really well, keep deadheading.

Many good gardeners do this every day because they have learned that annual plants produce flowers which produce seeds, but if the seed heads are removed, the plant can’t reproduce and, in desperation, they start to grow again as long as they have plenty of food.

The herbaceous border is also looking good. The delphiniums are now more than six feet tall and each spike has been tied into a bamboo cane. Once the flowers fade, cut the stems right down to one foot high, fork around the base and give them two gallons of Maxicrop Complete plant food and they will send up replacement spikes in September. Not many people know this, but spikes of delphinium in September are a great bonus and you’ll be the envy of the neighbourhood.

Sadly the grannies’ bonnets have finished flowering so the seed heads have been cut off. They won’t flower again this year but the foliage looks pretty and because we knew they would be finishing, Pam has put in some cosmos. These gems are cheap to buy and if planted into gaps in a border they will produce masses of bloom until the frosts arrive.

Brian’s top tip

If your water butt is empty this is a good time to clean it out.

Firstly, put a piece of nylon stocking over the end of the down pipe to prevent debris entering.

Now cover the top of the butt to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs on the surface of the water.