Beenaboutabit

Hang The Baskets

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My new home (I’ll be in residence shortly, with luck)  has a reasonably large ‘L’ shaped rear garden almost entirely laid to lawn with a few large containers holding shrubs and dwarf roses etc.
I don’t want the back breaking burden of flower beds etc, so by and large the lawns are safe …. but to add some colour a few hanging baskets and troughs seem to be a possibility. Have any of you green fingered exponents out there much experience of the plants that provide the luxurious eye-catching displays outside many pubs etc? Furthemore, do you grow your own from seed or buy plants or the whole thing baskets plants and all?
Btw, I don’t as yet have a greenhouse but in the meantime there is plenty of room for cold frames, cloches etc.

 

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The eye-catching displays in summer hanging baskets are generally annuals like petunias, nasturtiums and geraniums. They are inexpensive as small plants but the advantage of buying them as seeds is that you get more choice, better quality and more unusual plants than are on offer in garden centres. The RHS is the best source of advice on choice of plants and cultivation. This link should take you to a helpful page https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/annuals

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15 minutes ago, Bewilderbeeste said:

The eye-catching displays in summer hanging baskets are generally annuals like petunias, nasturtiums and geraniums. They are inexpensive as small plants but the advantage of buying them as seeds is that you get more choice, better quality and more unusual plants than are on offer in garden centres. The RHS is the best source of advice on choice of plants and cultivation. This link should take you to a helpful page https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/annuals

Many thanks. Have you tried growing them from seed? I like the idea more now that I have time to bother with them. I have a greenhouse in my plans but not maybe this year. I've spent little time at the house and due to it's less than ideal alignment, albeit the 'L' shaped lawn provides possibilities, I need to work out the best location for a greenhouse myself rather than guess at it.

I've always admired the wonderful displays outside commercial properties whereas my efforts (mainly my ex's) have been a central plant with Busy Lizzies around it - very ordinary!

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1 hour ago, Beenaboutabit said:

Many thanks. Have you tried growing them from seed? I like the idea more now that I have time to bother with them. I have a greenhouse in my plans but not maybe this year. I've spent little time at the house and due to it's less than ideal alignment, albeit the 'L' shaped lawn provides possibilities, I need to work out the best location for a greenhouse myself rather than guess at it.

I've always admired the wonderful displays outside commercial properties whereas my efforts (mainly my ex's) have been a central plant with Busy Lizzies around it - very ordinary!

I have in the past and a greenhouse makes it much easier. Much more satisfying than buying bog-standard trays from the garden centre. See if you can place your greenhouse to maximise its time in sunlight. These days, I'm mostly growing fruit and veg

 

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1 hour ago, Bewilderbeeste said:

I have in the past and a greenhouse makes it much easier. Much more satisfying than buying bog-standard trays from the garden centre. See if you can place your greenhouse to maximise its time in sunlight. These days, I'm mostly growing fruit and veg

 

That's the question that I need time living there to answer. The house faces WSW and that elevation and an end elevation (facing NNW) share the 'L' shaped lawn, instinctively I'm guessing the best siting for the greenhouse will be close to the angle of the 'L', but I need to experience the place over a summer to be sure. Theory is ok but there's nothing to beat practice/reality. :)

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Beenaboutabit, I'd certainly live there a year before doing too much. There may be things just waiting to appear in summer. Mind you, the way this so-called winter's going they may well still be above ground or coming up.

You can have baskets for winter and summer colour, and the same with pots and troughs. Make sure that you line the baskets and use water retaining granules, in summer. Pots etc can be filled with the right pH of soil for the plants you want, and heathers, variegated ivies and dwarf conifers give good displays. If you use acid soil you can plant for year-round colour, and some heathers have bright foliage in winter or summer when they're not in flower.

If you want shrubs in pots use John Innes 3 compost, and buy pots which have broad bases to minimise the chance of them being blown over. Square ones are good. Concrete rubble in the bottom gives weight,  but you may need to wrap it to stop it turning the soil too alkaline.

Vast numbers of good plants can be grown from seed with or without a greenhouse - a cold frame would help, maybe - and if you go to garden centres very early in the year there are plug plants very cheap. They need potting on and tending a bit before planting out, but great geraniums and so forth for pots and baskets can be bought for far less that the bigger plants later in Spring.

And lettuces, carrots, spuds...all can be container grown.

Remember: 'The answer lies in the soil.'

 

 

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6 hours ago, pabulum said:

 

Remember: 'The answer lies in the soil.'

 

 

Hands up who got the reference!

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 Yep , hands up 

 

I grow a lot from seed, or take cuttings from friends plants but again you can take cuttings all different ways depending on the plant or time of year.

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I noticed Groupon has lots of offers as from March onwards for baskets of flowers etc: if I had a garden or conservatory this is where I would go to buy cheap stuff.

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pabulum,Bewilderbeeste et al, many thanks. I have copied the comments for my own, gardening, purposes. It's one thing reading about gardening but far better to have people's personal experience.

So far the only things I have noticed at the house are that the ground is unusually dry, particularly mindful of the wet weather, and a northerly wind blows almost straight down the front elevation. So that's something to watch for. As a youngster I kept and bred tropical fish, and was used to getting the water right (acidity/alkalinity) for the different varieties of fish. Unfortunately I never thought to transfer such thoughts to getting soil composition right, and grew tomatoes and cucumbers in whatever soil was to hand! I've never been much concerned with flowers but always admired good efforts by people who have been - maybe I might have some of my own to look at if I take the time to get it right. Cheers

 

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7 hours ago, Colonel Bonkers said:

Hands up who got the reference!

Arthur Fallowfield!

(Kenneth Williams in Beyond Our Ken)

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6 minutes ago, Carnival said:

Arthur Fallowfield!

(Kenneth Williams in Beyond Our Ken)

Which really does date us...

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You're only as old as you feel!

Oh gawd! How true.

 

 

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I've found I'm not very good with seeds that you can just sow in the ground - the flowers tend to be a bit weedy. For winters, pansies and violas are nice, and for summer many of the Surfinia/Million Bells types flower like crazy and are easy to deadhead. I think classic red pelargoniums look good in terracotta urns, too.

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7 hours ago, KayHerts said:

I've found I'm not very good with seeds that you can just sow in the ground - the flowers tend to be a bit weedy. For winters, pansies and violas are nice, and for summer many of the Surfinia/Million Bells types flower like crazy and are easy to deadhead. I think classic red pelargoniums look good in terracotta urns, too.

Looks good - ideas copied to my folder!:)

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Hanging baskets and pots need more watering.  I have come back from hols to dead annuals in dried out containers.

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2 hours ago, Coventrypunter said:

Hanging baskets and pots need more watering.  I have come back from hols to dead annuals in dried out containers.

Very true. You need an arrangement with some obliging neighbours.

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Regarding the watering problem during absence, isn't there a gadget for automatic watering of a series of baskets or containers?

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1 hour ago, Beenaboutabit said:

Regarding the watering problem during absence, isn't there a gadget for automatic watering of a series of baskets or containers?

how much does that cost. and is it an epic to install?

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There are all sorts, from complex computerised to gravity ones. You can always get a 2 litre pop bottle, fill it with water and stick the open end in the soil. That'll work for a bit, but if you are off on hols it's worth seeing how long the water lasts in 'dry' conditions.

Remember 'dry'? It's what we had once.

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I am not a great gardener, but have decided to cut back on punting.  It has now been 5 days since my last punt, and I am trying to stick to one a month. So this afternoon it was cutting back hedges and finally balancing precariously on step ladder and loping away at the apple trees. 

My experience, is that lavender and rosemary both grow with little of my intervention. Sweetpea and honeysuckle also seem robust. 

A well planned English country garden is a work of art.

 

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On 05/01/2016 at 5:18 PM, Bewilderbeeste said:

I have in the past and a greenhouse makes it much easier. Much more satisfying than buying bog-standard trays from the garden centre. See if you can place your greenhouse to maximise its time in sunlight. These days, I'm mostly growing fruit and veg

 

pot luck with trays from the garden center, they always die on me. I have the fingers of death when it comes to plants, its not fair as I love them so much. I used to make regular trips to garden centers and fill my house with wonderful greenery but no matter how closely i follow the instructions they eventually wither away then im off down to the garden center again

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46 minutes ago, Chloe Kisses said:

pot luck with trays from the garden center, they always die on me. I have the fingers of death when it comes to plants, its not fair as I love them so much. I used to make regular trips to garden centers and fill my house with wonderful greenery but no matter how closely i follow the instructions they eventually wither away then im off down to the garden center again

Check the amount of watering you do. Some plants dont like Iots of water. And very few like their roots In standing water.

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Well, my plans got a bashing from the outset and other than keeping the lawned areas tidy I got nowhere with my greenhouse project. However, I have had a couple of months of continued occupation of my new home, and from what I have observed the best I could hope for in terms of positioning of a greenhouse would be close to my original guess, at the angle of an 'L' shaped lawn. At that point, on a day of sunshine (Tues) that was unbroken for >16hours, a greenhouse sited at the angle would have received 11/12hrs of sunshine, roughly two thirds to three quarters of the time available. In addition to my house getting in the way at certain times, two large oak trees put paid to any direct sunlight after around 6.0pm.

The area generally is of sandy soil and that holds good for the lawned area whch drains incredibly well, but as it is also incredibly well served with weeds it will be a major project to pull it round. I visited my brother recently and his extensive lawned areas looked like snooker tables in terms of flatness, and the covering was of quality grass no meadow/coarse stuff. I'm not sure if or when mine will look anything near as good, but it's something to aim for because he wasn't a gardener by instinct and simply kept improving things a bit at a time.

I've bought a few baskets to add some colour to the scene but I'd like to think by next year I'd be using my own flowers. However, for the moment I've the privilege of watching the incredible aerobatics of a Spotted Fly-Catcher much of each day, and a visit from a hedgehog late evenings and early mornings (4.30ish). Along with more blackbirds than I have seen in years, house martins in good numbers and robins, I'm blessed with super dawn and evening choruses. All in all a good move, and all set for a year of mainly gardening.

Btw, in the south west a particular pest weed is called couch grass, here it is called twitch, any of you gardeners know of either or other names for the strangling, tubular nuisance?

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I think that couch and twitch are the common names but some call it elymus repens B)

It's a b*gger to control if it gets a hold and normal 'weeding' just leaves bits of stem which then produce more shoots. Glyphosate is best, but you may need to isolate the grass from the surroundings with plastic bags, and use the gel where it's really close to prized plants.

https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=283

 

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