Cape Gazette
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Garden Journal

Hanging baskets add color and form to garden

By Paul Barbano | Jul 02, 2014
Geraniums are great plants for hanging baskets.

Sometimes the quickest decisions are the best decisions. In 1953, a custom-built two-seater show car from General Motors created such a sensation at the New York Auto Show that GM decided to build them for sale to the public. Because of the quick decision, the cars used off-the-shelf mechanical components, and used the chassis and suspension from the 1952 Chevy sedan.

Myron Scott, the man who started the Soap Box Derby, takes credit for naming the new sports car after a small, fast warship called a corvette. The word “corvette,” though French, may come from an earlier word, “corbis,” meaning “basket.”

So Corvette is a sports car named after a fighting ship named after a basket.

Like the decision to build the Corvette, and too often the decision to buy a Corvette, you can make a quick decision in the garden with a basket. A hanging basket. Within minutes you can add an instant dash of color or a homey herb garden always within reach. Hanging baskets lend color and form to porches, patios, entryways. You can hang them on free-standing poles or shepherd hooks directly in the garden.

You can plant your own hanging baskets or buy hanging baskets preplanted. If you plant your own, some of the best flowers to include are the moss rose (Portulaca grandiflora), marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia), petunias, alyssum, nasturtiums and ivy-leaf geranium. Herbs of all sorts do well in hanging baskets, but especially basil, trailing rosemary and parsley.

If you want to bring your hanging baskets into the house for the winter you can choose houseplants that do well in hanging baskets. Try philodendron, spider plant, English ivy, trailing begonias and pothos.

Hanging baskets get all of their food and water from a very small area of soil. Plants growing in a garden are surrounded by soil, but the roots of hanging baskets are surrounded by air.

Water your hanging baskets just about every day. You can tell if they need water by poking your finger into the soil about an inch. The soil should feel cool and moist, but not soggy. If the soil feels dry, you need to water your plants. A good rule is to water until the extra water drains out the bottom of the pot.

Summer and early fall are when hanging baskets grow the fastest, so feed them a good liquid organic fertilizer.

Before feeding your plants, water them first with plain lukewarm water. Let this drain completely and then re-water with the organic liquid fertilizer. This flushes soluble salts out of the soil and keeps the fertilizer from burning the roots.

A quick decision to buy a hanging basket or a fiberglass sports car is probably best when we treat them as temporary fun.

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