Hanging baskets St J

HANGING BASKETS – if my memory hasn’t faded in my older years – used to be pricey and not so very pretty.

Back in the 80s and 90s, I recall paying a fiver or more for baskets that were drearily traditional and quite unexciting.

Nowadays there’s a huge choice and a myriad of designs to suit all tastes and backdrops – as I discovered from a meander around St John’s Garden Centre in Barnstaple the other day.

A glance through the internet will reveal brightly coloured baskets, some adorned with funny faces, many edged in wrought iron and with moulded jute or coco liner, others cone-shaped, wavy-edged or square. I didn’t see any oh-so-bold or garish as that at St John’s but the variety was certainly hanging in there, as the picture reveals.

Our summer blooms have never had it so good!

Well, I thought I’d done pretty well, too, when I spotted a pile of attractive baskets for the princely sum of £1.99 each. Nope, no catch – they were crafted from bamboo leaf, rope and fern, with a darker “stitching” pattern down the sides and held eight litres of compost in its 14in span and natural lattice design. And they were marketed by leading horticultural suppliers Gardman.

So I armed myself with a couple of these and look forward to popping in the plants when spring finally blossoms in.

And talking of hanging baskets, I was chatting with a seasoned gardener from Tiverton some years ago on the perennial problems of growing hostas in conventional manner and keeping them slug and snail-free. Not easy!

He told me: “Grow them in hanging baskets and the slugs don’t have a chance. It stands to reason, of course, that unless a slug is brainy enough to slide along the basket hanger and down the chain, it’s going to be hard-pressed to devour those hanging hostas which they adore as keenly as pandas adore bamboos.

Hosta lovers – is it worth a shot?



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