Everything You Need to Know About Hanging Baskets

So a quick gardening history lesson. Remember learning about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon? They were one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. Legend says these exquisite, tiered gardens of trees, shrubs, and vines resembled a sloping mountain landscape. Many believe that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are the inspiration behind the modern day hanging basket.

The story goes that King Nebuchadnezzar built the gardens to cheer up his homesick wife. We agree that hanging baskets are a great way to add some cheer and beauty to your home whether you’re in Babylon or B.C. At Clearview, we have everything you need to easily build your own hanging basket or leave with one of our spectacular premade baskets.

Here’s the answers to the most common questions we get about hanging baskets:

1. How do I DIY one of those charming hanging baskets that I see everywhere?

The hanging basket is one of our most popular items. It takes less than an hour to create the basket with just a few tools and materials.

Start by gathering these items:

  • favourite basket
  • garden trowel
  • potting soil
  • young plants to use as basket stuffers

Follow these steps to make your own hanging basket:

  1. Add the potting soil with your garden trowel.
  2. Plant the basket. For outdoor baskets, we suggest using petunias, zonal geraniums, ivy geraniums, or verbena.

And if you’re less DIY and more DIC (Do It Clearview), you can come by when we reopen on March 6th for one of our premade pansy baskets. A full array of beautiful baskets of annuals will be available in April when the weather is warmer.

2. What other flowers can I plant in my outdoor hanging basket?

Place your planted baskets on your porch, deck, balcony, or wherever gets the most light. These plants love a lot of sun and require at least five or more hours of direct sunlight each day. We suggest trying these for your outdoor baskets:

  • Calibracoa: This plant blooms mini-petunia shaped flowers in a wide spectrum of colors. These bright flowers will help to attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
  • Bacopa: The dainty flowers cascade out of your basket and can reach up to four feet. No deadheading is needed since the old flowers drop on their own.
  • Scavola: The fan-shaped flowers tend to be tolerant of heat and resistant to pests. They come in blue, pink, white, and purple colours with yellow and white centers.

3. What flowers should I plant in my hanging baskets that are indoors?

Hanging plants indoors is a great way to save on floor space, improve the air quality, and brighten your home. You want to choose plants that will not only thrive in a hanging basket but will also look pretty among your decor. We recommend these beauties:

  • Spider Plant: The spindly plant is pet safe and quite easy to care for. It produces “offshoots” from the main plant that look lovely hanging from the basket.
  • Boston Fern: Feathery fronds are effective for purifying the air. Make sure it gets enough humidity either with a humidifier or spraying it with water.
  • String of Pearls: This succulent is low maintenance and requires little watering. Its trailing stems can grow up to 2 to 3 feet long for a stunning look.

4. Do I water my hanging baskets the same way I do my other plants?

Your plants in hanging baskets will most likely need to be more watered more frequently than your in-ground plants. This is because hanging plants are exposed to the air on all sides and the soil can dry out quickly. How often you water depends on the season, where your plants are hanging, and how many plants are in your container. Keep these tips in mind for effective watering:

  • Use the “finger test” to see if your plant needs water. Stick a finger in the soil to feel if it is dry or look at the drainage holes to see if they are dry.
  • Pour water on your hanging basket until the water starts to run out of the bottom of the container. Use a hose with a wand attachment to easily reach baskets that are up high.
  • If your hanging plant is under a covered porch, remember that it won’t get rain water and will need an extra sprinkle.

5. What does all that watering mean for fertilizing?

Nutrients in your hanging plant’s soil will be quickly depleted because you are watering more frequently. Replenish lost nutrients and help your plants flourish by using fertilizer. Follow these suggestions for successful fertilizing:

  • Use either liquid or dry release fertilizer, but not both, and follow the directions on the package. Ask us at the store if you’re unsure if you’re doing it correctly.
  • Fertilize when the soil is moist and not when the plants are wilting.
  • After a heavy rainfall, fertilize any hanging plants that are not in a covered area because the excess rain can drain the fertilizer.

6. How should I prune the plants in my hanging baskets?

Deadheading the plants in your hanging baskets can dramatically improve both their appearance and their performance. Cut away straggly vines, pinch dead steams, and trim unhealthy leaves. Here’s a quick way to deadhead a hanging basket:

  • Take your hanging basket by the hook and hold it close to the ground.
  • Give it a good shake. The dead flowers will fall off and should not damage your plant.
  • This technique works best on annuals such as petunias and calibrachoas.

We may not be an ancient wonder, but Clearview is a wonderful place to visit for all your hanging basket needs. We’re a family run business that is supportive of our local community. We offer a Hanging Basket Fundraiser that is a great way to earn money for your organization and share beautiful Clearview baskets with your friends and family.

Your organization will earn $7.00 for every basket sold. We’ll prepare a unique webpage where you can direct your group to purchase the baskets. See our application form and learn more here.

Top 7 Winter Activities For In & Out of Your Garden

As we look out our windows at a wintry scene, it is hard to imagine that in just a few months all that white will be replaced with green. Gardens need TLC even more so during the colder months. You can take steps now to help your garden withstand the winter weather and get it ready for the warmer days ahead.

These winter activities will give your garden the advantage come springtime so it can bloom to its fullest.

  1. WRAP IT UP

Protect your plants against cold weather.

Your holiday presents aren’t the only thing that needs wrapping this season. Group your potted plants together in a sheltered spot to protect them from high winds or heavy rain. Drape a freeze cloth over them or string a set of Christmas lights to keep them warm.

Tips for protecting your plants:

  • Remember that covers must reach all the way to the root zone to be the most effective.
  • Lift plants off the ground on terracotta feet so any water in the base of the pots can drain away.
  • On frigid nights, think about bringing your plants inside but check for spiders and other insects first.

2. MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU

Force your bulbs indoors.

Forcing your bulbs is basically tricking them into blooming out of season indoors. You can recreate nature with favourable conditions in your home. This makes bulbs think that spring has sprung when in fact you just decorated your Christmas tree.

Tips to force your bulbs:

  • Nearly any flowering bulb can be forced to bloom early but we recommend trying tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, or crocus.
  • Place your bulbs in a cool and dark place. When you see green sprouts emerge and roots start poking out then move the bulbs to a warmer location.
  • Check the soil regularly and keep it damp but not wet.

3. IT’S FOR THE BIRDS

Feed your feathered friends.

Birds are a garden’s BFF cause they help with pollination and provide natural pest control. During winter time, many birds’ go-to food sources, like insects and fruit, are hard to find. Create a backyard buffet so the birds can have full stomachs until spring time.

Tips for winter bird feeding:

  • Place your bird feeders near a sheltered location, such as hedges, that are protected from severe wind and snow.
  • Provide food with a high fat or oil content such as black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, suet, or thistle seed.
  • Clear off snow from your feeders so the food is easily reachable. Also shovel the ground below the feeder so spilled food is accessible.

4. READY FOR THE NEXT CHAPTER

Cozy up with a few gardening books.

A cup of tea, a warm blanket, and some gardening books can make for a perfect evening in on a cold winter night. Books on gardening are the right combination of inspiration, information, and entertainment.

These are some of our favourites:

5. GET WRITE ON IT

Create a garden reflection journal.

Keeping a reflection journal lets you look back at the previous year and learn from your successes and failures. Assess your gardening needs and experience level before purchasing a journal. Or use the quiet winter months to get creative and make your own journal.

Ideas for what to include in your reflection journal:

  • Make a sketch of your garden layout from season to season.
  • Have your own photo shoot and take pictures of each of your plants.
  • Record daily, weekly, and monthly observations.
  • Keep track of your seeding and planting dates.
  • Create a list of seasonal task reminders.

6. MAKE A LIST AND CHECK IT TWICE

Audit your gardening tools and equipment.

Conduct regular reviews of the condition of your gardening tools and equipment. Make a list of what items need repair and what will need to be purchased. Think about items that will likely malfunction soon, so you can be prepared with finding a replacement or new parts.

Tips for caring for your tools:

  • Sharpen shears, spades, and trowels with a metal file, whetstone, or sharpening stone that is appropriate to the size of the blade.
  • Clean pruning tools of ingrained dirt or sap with a wire brush and wash them in soapy water.
  • Smooth worn wooden handles with a medium grit sandpaper to remove any splinters.

7. BE A SEED SEEKER

Order seeds for the upcoming growing season.

The first few weeks of the new year tend to be when the seed catalogs arrive in our mailbox. While you’re inventorying your equipment, also take a look at the seed packets you have on hand. Review your reflection journal for thoughts on what you’d like to plant come spring.

Tips for ordering your seeds:

  • Read the catalog descriptions carefully so you can select the right seeds for your region and soil conditions.
  • Save all your catalogs and reference them for gardening information and tips.
  • Consider splitting seed packets with a fellow gardener so you can fit more of your favourites in your garden.

We can’t wait till we can trade in our winter gloves for gardening gloves when we reopen on March 6, 2021. Until then, we hope you enjoy these winter garden care activities, and we would love to see your beautiful blooms in the spring time.