It is pouring with rain outside and I have itchy fingers – I want to be in the garden so badly! When November drapes its cloak over me I begin to dream and I plot and I plan for the new season. I have already sorted out the spring planting, the bulbs are in and the garden is resting and waiting. The seed catalogues pile up beside my chair and on dark evenings when the fire is lit I browse through them, turning a page over here making a note there. On this rainy morning I took a wander through the internet collecting ideas as I went and my thoughts turned to my hanging baskets and what direction they might go in 2015. When summer starts I’m all for muted tones, for pinks and blues, gentle violets and lavender hues but, as the sun begins to blaze I want the baskets to heat up and to shout ‘Summer’ loudly at the world.

So I started with a palette of two colours and a collection of thoughts.

how to plant a hanging basket


Next I went plant hunting, I want some drama at the centre of this basket with fiery orange to be the dominant colour. This Dahlia (Dahlietta Rachel) with its upright habit and its flaming face fits the bill nicely.

Dahlia Rachel

To lift the dahlia and add some sunbeams I think Calibrachoa Can Can Dark Yellow, which should lift itself over the edge of my rattan baskets and trail deliciously and lazily in the summer sun, is an absolute must.

hanging basket plants

Picking up on the colours from both of these beauties I’ve chosen another Calibrach0a, this time Can Can Terracotta which will join its relative at the edge of my basket.

summer hanging baskets

All that colour needs some white to lift it and to provide contrast and zing. I love this Lagoon White Nemesia which will stand upright alongside the dahlia, its delicate heads nodding along as the dahlia sings out its summer song,

plants for summer baskets

I like my baskets to contain one surprise, one drama queen, one unexpected visitor. She must complement her companions but bring a little je ne sais quoi to the proceedings. I seem to be a little obsessed with Calibrachoa so let’s pop the gloriously dark Can Can Black Cherry into the mix. Her starry yellow centre picks up on the shades in both the Can Can Dark Yellow and the Can Can Terracotta and I think she’s wonderful! I can just imagine them lifting their skirts for an appearance at the Moulin Rouge!

black flowers for hanging baskets

Finally, as a foil to all these stars, a little bit of trailing Helichrysum Gold – the golden green will bring out all the colours of our cast and allow them to shine!

trailing plants for hanging baskets

Here are my choices for summer hanging baskets in warm colours emphasising oranges and yellows.

how to plant a summer hanging basket

Normally when I am planting up a basket I limit myself to a choice of three to four plants at most and often fill a basket with only one type of plant. Here, however I want to capture the abundance of summer in all its glory, I want the heat and the profusion of it to spill out of this basket so I’m going to include one of each plant in a 30cm rattan basket.


How to Plant a Hanging Basket

To ensure good drainage I add a layer of grit to the bottom of a rattan basket and then fill it with peat free compost. I add a few water retaining crystals to the compost so that it doesn’t dry out. It is so important to keep hanging baskets well watered if they are to stay looking good all summer and to remember to give them a regular feed as they will pretty soon exhaust the nutrients in the compost they start with!

To build this basket I will start with the dahlia as my centre piece, right in the middle, next to her will go her maids of honour the nemesia and around the edge I will pop one of each of everything else. Calibrachoa Black Cherry will take pride of place at the centre left of the basket and, if I have room for extras, I will pop in another helichrysum and one more nemesia.

I can feel the heat of summer already, can you?!

PicMonkey Collage 2




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