Carolina Bed and Breakfast

Making a Hanging Garden

Posted on by Susan Murray

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Making a hanging garden is one of the few types of gardening you can do without bending down!

 If you’ve every visited England in the summer, you will remember the wonderful flowers and cottage gardens of the homes, shops and pub. While we lived there, James and I learned a lot about gardening.  We had a lovely walled garden which came with the house we rented (along with a gardener named…wait for it…Mr. Green!) Here in Asheville where  the climate  is generally mild (present “unusual weather” excepted) I find I am able to use much of what I learned on our garden at the Carolina Bed & Breakfast.    

One of the most beautiful sights of summertime England are the large and overflowing hanging gardens one sees throughout the towns and on homes.  By and large, people there don’t buy their hanging gardens ready-made. Instead they pick the flowers they want and construct them themselves. This is something I learned to do there and I was eager to create beautiful “gardens” for our house here.
Most  garden centers have hanging baskets which they will sell you consisting of plastic containers filled with one type of plant in full bloom.  I had to look around a bit to find a place that sold wire baskets with a coco (hemp) liner.  The wire baskets can be re-used every year and the liners are especially good at retaining water. I also think they look much more natural and attractive than the plastic ones.  You can also buy them online if you want. I found mine at a wonderful garden center out in Weaverville:  Reems Creek Nursery

Next I was ready to pick my plants.  My gardens were going to hang on the front and back porches so they wouldn’t be getting full sun.  This is actually the best type of  place to put your basket as full sun and wind will dry out the baskets and you will be watering at least twice a day to keep them alive!

James and I went to the Farmer’s Market
where I chose three different plants.  For the outer rim I chose Bacopa-Sutera Cordate or “Snowstorm-Giant Snowflake”.  This pretty white-flowered plant sends out long “trails” which will hang down and give cover to the basket below.

For the second ring, I chose impatiens.  Also known as “Busy Lizzies”, they will bloom furiously all summer long.

 And to give height to the center I picked some Zinnas.

The next thing you have to do is get a good potting soil which is made for container gardening.  It should contain time release nutrients as you aren’t going to be wanting to get up there and feed your garden every few weeks and the plants will be crowded together and need extra food.  I also chose one with water storing gel pellets because my experience is that sooner or later it will get very hot and your plants will need extra water.  As a rule, more hanging gardens suffer from a lack of water than from over-watering

If you look closely, you can see the tiny blue pellets in the soil.

The first thing you will do is fill your basket about 3/4 of the way with the potting soil. BUT before you do that, make absolutely sure that the chain is hanging free and not tied to the bottom of the basket.  In fact you might want to unclip the chain entirely and refasten it after you have created your basket.  You will only have to forget to do this once before having learned this lesson!

 The next thing to do is to arrange your plants in the basket as you wish them.  Probably the plants will be somewhat root-bound when you take them out of the garden center container.   Very gently you should loosen the earth and free the roots so they are ready to grow into the new soil.     

Arrange the plants fairly close together, give them a really, really good watering and there you go! You have created a hanging garden which will be grow throughout the summer and be unique to your house.

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