Create a Wow Factor Hanging Basket and Amaze Your Friends This Summer
Forget standard hanging baskets of yesteryear, today’s take on this garden classic is far more fun, like those in Sally’s plot, p22. All these projects take a fresh new look at this old favourite, to bring a blast of modern texture, colour and shape to your outside space. There’s a creation here to suit your garden, whatever its style. Leafy spheres of ferns will instantly add a calming touch of Zen to your plot, or plant an abundant cascade of blooms to bring some serious patio wow. Even familiar plants will look incredible when suspended from a lofty height, especially when you pair them with the perfect container that’s every bit as gorgeous as the blooms. Whichever project you choose, your modern hanging basket is guaranteed to stop your garden visitors in their tracks this summer!
This quick project will make your feathered friends very happy, as they’ll appreciate being able to drink and bathe in the shelter and safety of a tree. It’s easy to create – just plant up a chunky woven container with trailing ivy and fragrant Corsican mint, both of which will survive without too much TLC. Position the plants at intervals around the edge of the basket, encouraging the stems to hang down the side, and place a shallow metal saucer in the centre. Suspend the basket from a sturdy overhanging branch. Fill the saucer with water, sit back and watch the birdy action!
WHAT IT COST
Gardman Rattan Hanging Basket 304.8mm, £3.80 diy.com Dark Galvanised Tray Dia28cm, £3.99 crocus.co.uk Wilko Tub and Basket Compost, £2/20L wilko.com Good Home Trailing Ivy x 4, £4/12cm pot diy.com Corsican mint x 1, £5.99/9cm pot waitrosegarden.com TOTAL: £31.78.
SWORD FERN SPHERE A
Sphere of lush and leafy sword ferns will bring shape and texture to a shady spot. Begin by removing chains and hooks from two wire hanging baskets. Line each with a coco liner and fill the base with a rich potting compost. Add water-retaining granules, such as Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Container and Baskets Gel (£6/250g, homebase.co.uk) to the compost. Divide two sword ferns into several smaller plants – just remove each from its pot and use a knife to saw the root ball into four mini plants. Make sure each has plenty of roots and fronds intact. Snip four openings in each liner, one at the base and three just below the basket rim. Push the root ball of a plant through each opening and hold in place as you firm compost around its roots, then fill both baskets with compost. Sandwich the baskets together using wire and pliers to secure them, and re-clip the chains ready to hang. Water thoroughly and allow to drain before suspending in place.
WHAT IT COST
Sword ferns x 2, £5.21/2-3L pot palmcentre.co.uk John Innes No 3 Compost, £3.52/10L diy.com 40cm Hanging Basket With Coco Liner x 2, £6.50 each homebase.co.uk TOTAL: £26.94.
LUSCIOUS GRASS GLOBES
Irresistibly tactile, these baskets will astound your friends this summer. The mass of rich green grass hanging below the basket can grow to extraordinary lengths, forming a sculptural teardrop shape. A mix of two similar-looking plants – baby panda bamboo and creeping bent grass – brings a Japanese feel that oozes a tranquil sense of well-being. You’ll need to grow the bent grass from seed, but it’s easy and quick to do so. Fill a 40-cell seed tray to just below the rim with compost. Firm, water and leave to drain, before evenly covering the surface with seed and a thin layer of compost. Wait until the seeds have germinated and grown into shoots around 8cm long around four weeks before gently tipping out the individual cells. Each cell should have well-established roots.
Create a ball-shaped basket by lining two identical wire baskets with coco liners and filling with moisture control compost. To make the lower half of the hanging sphere, snip neat cuts at regular intervals in the liner. Pop a creeping bent grass plant through each opening, nestling the roots into the compost. Continue until this basket’s surface is almost covered. Don’t worry if there are gaps and you can see the liner as these will be covered as the grass grows. Fill the other basket with compost and sandwich the two together to form a ball shape, fixing in place using wire ties. Saw up the bamboo into small sections using an old bread knife, making sure each one has some roots. Cut openings into the top basket liner and plant up as before. Keep the finished basket well-watered and ensure it doesn’t dry out.
WHAT IT COST
Creeping bent seed, £6/100g wildseed.co.uk Baby panda bamboo, £6.50/1L pot shrublandparknurseries.co.uk PlantPak 40-cell Seed Tray £4/5 trays homebase.co.uk Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Compost, £6.94/50L diy.com Gardman Classic Black Hanging basket 40.64cm with coco liner x 2, £6.60 each diy.com TOTAL: £36.64.
BUCKET OF BEAUTY
This zinc bucket brimming over with pale pink campanula oozes understated elegance. Flowering continuously throughout the summer, it loves a spot in full sun or part shade. Make it now, and it will thrive year after year. Using a hammer and nail, pierce several drainage holes through the base of the bucket. Cover the holes with a layer of broken crocks and fill two thirds of the bucket with container compost. Carefully turn the campanula out of its plastic pot and place in the centre of the bucket. Fill round with compost, firming down to hold the plant upright. Double over a 1.5m length of twine and tie the ends to the loops either side of the bucket’s rim. Raising the twine, tie a central knot to form a top loop, ready for hanging from a metal S-hook. Water thoroughly and allow to drain before hanging.
WHAT IT COST
Campanula punctata Pink Octopus’, £9/3L pot hardysplants.co.uk Vinterfest Galvanised Bucket 10L, £7 ikea.com Nutscene Natural 3 Ply Jute Twine 110m, £3.50 hobbycraft.co.uk Grundtal S-hook 7cm, £2.50/5 ikea.com Gro-sure Easy Container Compost, £4.75/25L homebase.co.uk TOTAL: £26.75.
Upcycle an old wooden box or crate you already have to become a hanging basket, and you’ll add a whole new layer of loveliness! Here, the dazzling ballerina blooms of fuchsia ‘Nora’ shine out from a dizzying array of natural textures. Fun and easy to put together, this project will add a unique touch to your garden. Any crate will do – just line it with an old compost bag turned inside out, making drainage holes in the plastic to line up with the gaps between the wooden slats. Add compost and a plant. Tie rough, natural rope to each corner and hang – along with the old handle of a well-worn garden rake or hoe for added texture – suspended from branch with metal hooks. Winding garden twine or salvaged rope around the pole will add to the relaxed and incidental look.
WHAT IT COST
Wilko Tub and Basket Compost, £2/20L wilko.com Fuchsia ‘Nora’, £8.99 thompson-morgan.com Diall Jute Twisted Rope 14mm x 10m, £9.95 diy.com Small 70mm Wrought Iron S Hook x 2, £5 each thedoorknockercompany.co.uk TOTAL: £30.94.