Friday, April 9, 2021

Garden Planning for Containers

I worked the election this week as an election judge.  My reward was to go plant shopping the next day. You can see my haul below.  This trip was a few herbs and mostly annuals for my hanging baskets.  I tend to landscape in shades of green.  As an herb grower, you get into that, as flowers are something you cut off, not encourage, but I love the bright shades of flowers so I grow zinna and sunflowers from seed and put out annual hanging baskets.  Our garden club normally has a plant sale where I buy my baskets, but this year no sale, no baskets.  But if you are looking for native plants, the club will get 10% if you SHOP HERE.

As a result, I need to make my own hanging baskets.  I have plenty of planters, so I went to Redbud Creek Farm in Sheridan, IL.  It is about an hour from me, but worth the drive.  They have herbs, vegetables, annuals and perennials.  The layout is wonderful to wander through. And I will have to go back later in the year to see the herb and vegetable garden during the growing season.

We also stopped at Shady Hill Gardens in Elburn to pick up my scented geraniums - and some lemon thyme which was too aromatic to pass up!

Hanging Basket Design

Designing a hanging basket is about the same as designing a small pot spiller, filler, thriller.  But one does not need a tall exceptional center plant as much as one needs more spiller.  Most hanging baskets hang above eye level so you need the plants to flow over the edge.  That means finding plants that low grow and spread or are viney. My favorite for this is portulaca - a variety of purslane, an edible weedy herb, that will grow well in-ground and spread nicely and in pots, it will cascade.  It is covered with colorful blossoms throughout the summer.

English ivy is a good choice, Sweet potato vine with its unusually shaped leaves and lovely shades of green to dark purple allow you to find versions to suit your design.  Another great spiller is Dichondra.  This version is "Silver Falls." 

Trumpet vine and bougainvillea are popular hanging basket items, but they tend to be grown alone.  Because of their own showy appearance, no extras are needed.

For the thiller I like annual flowers. Bright, colorful, sun-loving annuals that will grow fast and fill the pot to overflowing is the best. For one I chose portulaca in 5 different colors. I love yellow and my husband does to, so we got some yellow and orange ----  to hang in the front yard.  Since I am still working from home, my home desk will overlook it everyday.

As filler I got these pretty white flowers -- 

I think I will have to get a few more. 

I wintered over two ivy.  One variegated with wide leaves and one a more traditional ivy.  The traditional ivy died back terribly due to the lack of humidity in our house, but the other ivy flourished.  The cats will be glad it is no longer growing into their lounging space in the bedroom.

Once we are free of the threat of frost I will put these containers together and take photos of the final versions.  


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