container gardens
Hanging Baskets for Grace

   Hanging baskets and pots are charming garden features, whether part of the container garden or simply decoration for an entrance or porch. Suspended at various heights, baskets make it possible to grow plants in midair, where at eye level, or above, they can be enjoyed for their graceful beauty.

   Fuchsias, with their pendent, jewel-like blossoms, tuberous begonias, lantanas, and star of Bethlehem take on a new look when seen from below. Even a nondescript trailer, weedy at that, creeping jenny or creeping charlie, looks entirely different in a basket. In fact, if you grow it, you will often be asked what it is.

   To decorate porches or balconies, plants in baskets are delightful, but they can also be suspended on fences, walls, poles, beams of garden shelters, and from the eaves of a garage, tool shed or garden house. Lampposts, poles, arbors, and pergolas are other appropriate locations, not to mention the branches of trees.

   Plants in baskets require no special care, and are just as simple to care for as plants in pots or boxes. The easiest way is to purchase planted baskets from florists or garden centers, but it is also fun to make your own baskets and plant them.

Kinds of Baskets

   A hanging basket may consist of a wire frame lined with moss and filled with soil. Or the effect of a basket may be obtained by suspending a flower pot in a wire holder or by wires drawn through holes made at the pot rim. Glazed and unglazed pottery, wooden baskets or tubs, plastic pots, and slatted wooden frames can also be suspended.

   On the West Coast, slatted frames of redwood or cedar are recommended because they hold moisture better than wire frames. These frames may be square, octagonal, round, or triangular. For walls, fences, or other vertical surfaces, there are baskets made with one flat side.

   To reduce evaporation, clay pots may be painted or shellacked. Keep to soft colors that do not detract from the plants. Open wire baskets are durable and nonbreak-able, but those made of copper are best because they do not rust. Wire baskets are inexpensive, and if you plant your own, the cost is negligible.

Moss Lining for a Basket

   The first step in planting a wire or slatted basket is to line the inside with moss. This holds soil in place and also provides a drainage layer. You can gather moss in the woods, selecting large patches that can be rolled off in big pieces. When you line a basket with this, let the green side face out.