Don’t pack away hanging baskets now autumn’s got going! They are large, looming and in your face slap bang at eye level and can be filled with all your favourite colourful plants for pizazz, guaranteed to draw attention.
Planting up a basket now gives you the green light to choose the most robust, yet beautiful, plants to see your hanging displays through till spring. It’s always really rather satisfying to create such a bombastic, showy arrangement at this time of year, too, just when many like to try and put the garden to bed – it’s a rebellious defiance of the cold season!
Take a trip to the garden centre and pick a jazzy selection of upright, mound forming and trailing plants – anything you choose from the shelves at this time of year is tough by its very nature. Each basket, however, should only have around four to five plants in.
Go to town on as many shapes, sizes and colours as you like. Match or clash colours, but make sure the plants are compatible with each other.
For example, most heathers appreciate acidic soil and therefore need ericaceous compost to thrive in – not ideal for a lot of plants. Luckily, winter-flowering heather Erica carnea is more tolerant of alkaline composts, so can be happily tucked in beside everything else.
Instead of the usual classic winter pansies (pictured), go for violas – they’re arguably more elegant and pretty while still providing a cheap and cheerful bedding display. Viola ‘Bunny Ears’ has a delicate, refined pelargonium look with long purple and white or yellow petals.
The winning combination of spiky brown or green carex grass, trailing ivy, skimmia or a mini cupressus ‘Goldcrest’ conifer along with violas ‘Volante White’ and ‘Volante Purple’, with white and pink autumn and winter cyclamen, will last for months and through into next year if you want it to. Just replace bedding seasonally as and when.
A good tip for lining and topping baskets, so that moisture is retained inside, is to collect some garden lawn moss yourself and use that – this also creates a more natural, woodland-like feel to your plantings.
3 of the best... trees for autumn colour
Cercis ‘Forest Pansy’
Purple leaves and pink spring flowers, with a kaleidoscope of orange-red and yellow leaves come October.
A spectacular Japanese maple with lime leaves up until autumn when they turn an almost neon scarlet-orange.
The wow factor is in the form of bright vivid violet berries – cut bare branches for arrangements.
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- Karen writes for Garden News magazine, which is packed full of tips, inspiration, plant and product news and great money-saving offers! On sale every Tuesday or subscribe and try your first 4 issues for just £1 – Call 080858 438884 and quote YFIG, or visit www.greatmagazines.co.uk/YFIG. T&Cs apply.