What to do this week : Planting your hanging baskets

whicker hanging basket

Hanging baskets can be planted now as long as they can be brought indoors if the temperature drops

Hanging baskets can be planted now as long as they can be brought indoors if the temperature is forecast to drop.

Petunias, fuchsias, busy Lizzies and lobelias are the traditional plants for baskets, but there are dozens of others that look great, like trailing campanulas, the fiery red ivy-leaved geranium 'Tomcat', diascias and even sweet peas.

Online nursery Van Meuwen has a useful illustrated list of suitable plants. www.vanmeuwen.com/catalogue/baskets 

Climbing and rambling roses are now shooting in all directions and need to be tied in, so that the plant has a good framework and doesn't become a mad tangle.

It's best to use soft green twine rather than wire, which can rub up against the stems and damage them. Roses should be tied in horizontally  -  this restricts the flow of sap, resulting in more sideshoots and far more flowers.

If you leave the stems to grow vertically, you'll only get flowers at the top of the stem. young green stems are quite fragile and easy to break, so be as gentle as you can.


The garden visiting season is in full swing now and, with the help of The national Gardens Scheme yellow Book, you can find out which gardens in your area are open to the public for charity.

Visiting gardens is a great day out, and there’s often the chance to have a home-made tea and buy plants as well.

It can be an eye-opener to see what other gardeners have created and an opportunity to borrow ideas for your own space.

Take a notebook with you so you can jot down the names of interesting plants and good planting combinations – most gardeners are generous with their advice and happy to talk about their garden with fellow enthusiasts. £8.99, www.ngs.org.uk



If you are growing mophead Hydrangeas it's time to cut off the dead flower heads

If you are growing mophead hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla), it's time to cut off the dead flower heads, which have been offering some protection to the delicate young buds during winter.

Cut back the stem to just above a healthy set of buds, and trim out any stems that look weak, once again cutting back to a healthy-looking pair of buds.


No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now