Floating globes of flowers and foliage lend an exotic touch to patios and balconies throughout the summer. Plant up a large basket and hang it at head height, so you can focus on the colors, shapes, and textures. To prolong your flowery display, water and deadhead daily.
When to start: Late spring.
At their best: Early to late summer.
Time to complete: 2 hours.
You will need: Sturdy wall bracket, pencil, electric drill with masonry bit, spirit level, rawlplugs and coach bolts, spanner, large hanging basket and liner, scissors, multipurpose compost, slow-release granular fertilizer.
Selection of plants to use: Trailing blue lobelia, Dichondra argentea ‘Silver Falls’, Lotus berthelotii, Diascia ‘Flying Colors Coral’, Verbena ‘Peaches ‘n’ Cream’, Verbena ‘Derby’.
Position wall bracket
The most successful hanging baskets are the largest, because they hold greater quantities of soil and water and are less prone to drying out. However, big baskets require strong brackets fixed securely to the wall. Place the bracket on the wall and check it is vertical with a spirit level. Use a pencil to mark the positions of the screw holes.
Remove the bracket, and using an electric drill with a masonry bit, drill holes through the pencil marks. You will find this easier if you drill the holes into the mortar rather than the bricks. Push a Rawlplug into each hole.
Place the bracket back on the wall and line up the holes. Insert a washer and coach bolt and screw it into the wall using a spanner, as shown. A ratchet-style spanner makes this job easier. Repeat for the second hole. Tighten both bolts fully to secure the bracket to the wall.
Line the basket with a suitable liner and trim to fit. Over the bottom third of the basket, lay a sheet of plastic punched with a few small drainage holes—a piece of trash can liner is perfect. Add a layer of gravel and cover this with soil. Then, cut crosses at regular intervals around the sides just above the plastic.
Thread plants through holes
Water all the plants thoroughly and remove the lobelia plants from their cell pack. Wrap a little plastic around the leaves to protect them, and thread each plant through the crosses from the inside.
Plant the basket
Cover the lobelia with more soil and then start planting up the rest of the basket. Work from the center out, with the tallest Verbena in the middle and the trailing Dichondra and Lotus around the edges.
Fill in around the plants with soil and some fertilizer. Water in well, and add a layer of gravel over the soil to help retain moisture. Water daily, even if it has rained, and deadhead regularly for a longer show of blooms.