Monday, 17 November 2014

Hanging Basket Design Challenge

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to take part in a design task, along with a few other garden bloggers, to create a Summer hanging basket that could potentially go in to production.  This sounded like a good bit of fun and also turned my mind once more to thinking about options for next year’s planting schemes.  Right now I’m concentrating on plants being useful, however this may look, and I’m loving creams and whites, which I’ll be incorporating wherever possible.

The initial brief was as follows:

  • Create a mixed Summer hanging basket using plants from Plant Me Now and other sources
  • Baskets will be 30cm Rattan baskets, so no side planting
  • Try to keep it to 6 or 7 plants

Well, that sounded fairly simple and it certainly gave me scope to play around a bit. Then I had the inevitable child in a sweet shop moment. There were so many plants to choose from in the bedding range!  I decided that settling on a theme should narrow things down a little and that’s how my design came to be.  

I knew I wanted to incorporate a useful element to my basket and I also wanted to design something for people who may have limited growing space or perhaps people who want to venture in to the world of ‘Grow Your Own’.  In addition, I felt a fruit or vegetable option would add interest and likely help to differentiate my design from others that may focus solely on ornamentals.  In this instance I thought that a choice of tomatoes or strawberries would be best as they are both easily maintained in baskets and generally favoured by most people.  After searching for suitable choices I decided to utilise a Strawberry called ‘Sarian’.  This plant has a trailing nature and is well suited to growing in a basket.  

After deciding on incorporating strawberries I then turned my mind to flowers that could add interest across the whole Summer.  I wanted a colour that worked with both the ripe and unripe fruit and also something that could help me build a theme.  In my mind Strawberries go well with two things: cake or cream.  I couldn’t find many references to cake and so I decided on a theme of ‘Strawberries and Cream’.  I chose Begonia ‘SuperCascade Vanilla Cream’ as this fitted the brief in both habit and name.   

Given that both these plants are trailing I thought that some vertical height may be necessary, although the simple and limited palette above should give plenty of interest.  Again focusing on the desire for the basket to be useful I chose to use Sage, in this case I opted for Salvia officinalis ‘Icterina’.  I always have Sage close to the house as I use it in almost every dish I make and it will also prove useful in this situation given that it’s a Mediterranean herb and therefore will be useful in times when water is in short supply.  I also like the bright green/gold colours in this plant and I think it will help to set off the darker foliage of the Strawberries and Begonias.

And so we have it, my ‘Strawberries and Cream’ dual-purpose hanging basket.  Simple but useful, I hope.


  1. It's like a paraphrase of the William Morris quote - Have nothing in your hanging basket that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

    I'm glad you're blogging again :)

  2. Interesting that you chose Sage, I would have gone for a mint! Possibly a Spearmint or a Peppermint.


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