‘On the wall’ idea for protecting the plants


SOUTHSEA GREEN: With Irene Strange

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Is it windy where you live? I am thinking of Dave and Liz who live on the seafront at Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

They wrote to me because they find the hanging baskets go round and round in the wind and after a few weeks the whole lot have dried out.

What a wonderful place to live but the wind and salt spray is a real problem. There is an answer, though.

Have a look at your garden centre and there will be flat-backed round front wall baskets.

These are made of thick wire or flat metal bars. Each type has to be fixed firmly on to a wall using rawplugs and screws.

They are excellent because the wall behind the basket provides protection.

Once the baskets are fixed on to the wall, a layer of moss or a ready-made liner is placed into the basket, a few handfuls of compost are added and the basket plants are planted so that the leaves and stems are pushed through the holes or bars.

It is not a good idea to push the roots through the holes. Entire roots will ensure the plants will thrive.

If your garden is really windy, plant some grey or silver-leafed foliage plants into the sides of the basket. Look for Helichrysum or Cineraria ‘Silver Feather’.

Do you love perfume in the garden? Plant Petunia Blue Vein in the front, alongside the silver plants.

Every plant will provide a display over a foot in diameter and all we have to do is remove all the dead flowers. A pair of scissors is ideal for this job.

Lobelia ‘String of Pearls’ looks great between the petunias and if you happen to have a couple of spider plants or a rooted cutting of Tradescantia, both of these will provide cover if the lobelia dies out after August.

For the top of the basket have a look at ivy-leafed pelargoniums, Begonia Non Stop, trailing fuchsias and the wonderful Bidens Aurea.

This basket plant looks expensive but it starts to flower a couple of weeks after planting and flowers all through the summer.

I describe the effects as wonderful falling golden stars. We just need to keep removing the dead flowers every week.

I am wondering if you have one of those wall baskets with bars at the front that look like mangers? Do you find them difficult to plant?

Use potted plants, some moss to keep the compost in place and then push the foliage through the bars and the root ball is kept in place by the bars. Liz at Horndean will be pleased with this answer.