A simple guide to hanging baskets, in association with Sutton Seeds. Hello, I’m Katherine Crouch, BBC Gardener of The Decade. Today we are at the beautiful gardens of East Lambrook Manor and I’m going to be showing you how to plant the ultimate pink, white and purple hanging basket. With the help of some beautiful plants and seeds given to us by our friends at Suttons Seeds. Today I am going to be using a traditional wire 14 inch basket. There are lots of choices on the market, but I don’t like to use a basket that is too small because the do tend to dry out very quickly in the hot weather in the summer. I have got a really lovely collection of pink basket plants, you can be ready to go collections in most garden centers. I’m also going to be using some white trailing Lobelia. And some Swan River Daisies, and the are a lovely mauve colour with a little wicked yellow eye. For the centrepiece I am going to use this really lovely zonal Pelargoniam in a really hot pink colour. I’ve got a scoop for our compost and some scissors to open the bag. Ok, let’s sort our hanging basket plants out because they will get in the way. Usually they are long enough for you to put them over the side like that. Now you could just plant the basket up like this but it is a little but unstable. I like to use an old pot just to put the whole thing in and it will have a nice firm base. You’ll notice this poor old pot has suffered in the winter from frost damage. If you have got a pot like this, don’t throw it away because we can use the pieces on another project. This is our liner, it obviously stops all of the compost from falling through. It is made from the outer surface of a coconut, so it is environmentally friendly. Put that in the container. What we are going to do is to put some plants actually planted on the inside and coming out of the side gaps here. That will mean that when the basket is hanging up we won’t just see the bottom of the basket, all of the plants will trail down and create a beautiful display. So we need some scissors… So there we are, one hanging basket liner with some holes about 2 or 3 inches down from the side so we can put our Lobelias in. I’m just going to put that nice and level in the basket like so and fill up with some compost. Now there was a time when I was far too mean to buy decent compost and I always bought the cheapest possible. But actually it is well worth getting specialist container and basket compost not only are you paying for more nutrients, but they have water granules in them. This means if the basket dries out completely, if you went away for the weekend or forgot to water it, it will then wet easily and restore itself to good health. When peat compost gets extremely dry it is very hard to wet again. The water will just run straight off but with these additional granules it soaks up the water nice and easily and your plants go off again. So I’m going to fill the basket up as far as the holes thgat I’ve just made. The is where we need a decent sized basket because all of this compost by the end of the season is going to be a matt off roots. You can’t get a decent top end of the plant without a decent bottom end of the plant. A good root system makes for a really sturdy plant. Filled up so far… I like to use Lobelia because they will flower all the way through and they come in fairly small plugs like this. We have got a little bit of a teasy of the shoots to do. They are usually too big to come from the outside in, so we have to persuade these poor little shoots to go through our holes. Go carefully, try and do it without bruising too much and just wriggle and persuade them through. Lie the whole plug sideways into the basket and push it right through like that. Now work your way all the way around the basket. There we go. That’s our first stage complete. We’ve got our Lobelia planted all the way around our basket so we will have some unity in the colour theme. The little plugs all ready to go, our poor plants are looking a little worst for the wear having been dragged through the holes but don’t worry they will grow away very nicely. What I’m going to do now is put in a little bit more compost. Not too much… Now for our basket plants. I’m going to put this nice Pelargonium in the middle. It’s always nice to have hanging baskets that have a little bit of height. Just to get them going tease our these roots and make a little hole. We want to aim for the top of the root balls of all our plants to be just below the level of our liner. So when we water, the water doesn’t all spill out. Make a little divet in the middle and in goes our Geranium. Some call them Geraniums but they are really called Pelargoniums. I like to stuff an awful lot of plants into my hanging baskets so as when they grow they are and absolute avalanche of colour. Here are some little Fuscia’s. They will spill out over the edge with beautiful little bell like flowers, let’s put one either side. Inbetween the lobelia there are some nice gaps. You don’t need to push them in too hard, they will soon sort themselves out. This looks like a little miniature trailing petunia, we will put one either side. This is some pink Lobelia, we’ll put this in the top to join in with the white below. That’s what we are looking for, a really nice little root ball all rooted around. These plants will be ready to take off. This is a pink Bacopa which is a lovely trailing plant. All these bedding plants will go on and flower continuosly all summer if we look after them properly. And finally I am going to see if I can squeeze in some Swan River Daisy which has beautiful mauve flowers witha little yellow centre. I’ve found that of all the basket plants that I’ve grown, this one seems to keep going right the way through even when one or two are starting to look a bit shabby. By now our hanging baskets really quite full so I’ve got to sort of nudge things to one side to get these to stick in. Lets try and find three spaces in a triangular sort of way. And by now our root balls are absolutely joining up together. Don’t worry, they have got plenty of compost underneath in order to establish well. Lets find a space here, tuck things over to one side. So there we are, one fairly full hanging basket now what we need to do is spend a bit of time drizzling compost and poking it down into the holes between all these root balls. One planted hanging basket! Now don’t worry if at this stage it is looking a little bit tragic and patchy it will fill out, but we want this hanging basket to be lasting us a full five months in the garden. The compost bag does say four months of fertiliser, but of course when you are watering it all ther fertilizer will run out. So what I do is to add some extra at this stage. There are three things you can do, first you can remember to water your hanging basket every week or two with some soluble fertilizer. Personally I always forget and think was it last week or the week before and weeks go by and the plants starve to death. Now the most reliable way of making sure that your hanging baskets go on and on and on is to make use of some slow release fertiliser. They look like bundles of snails eggs like this. For a basket this size I would be using about 6. You poke them in inbetween the plants down to the depth of your thumb. Put 6 in there and everytime you water it will release your fertilizer to feed your plants and your basket will be twice the size of somebodies that hasn’t done this. If you don’t want to use a chemical solution and would prefer to use an organic solution another thing you can use is pelletted chicken manure, hopefully from organic chickens. They look like this, dry granules of perfectly nice to handle chicken poo. All you need to do is sprinkle alittle bit through the compost, but with this I would be sprinkling an extra little handful every month right the way through the summer to keep the plants going. If you put plants in a container they cannot root down as well as if they were in the ground so you must give them some extra help with extra food. There we are, one hanging basket. Last thing to do is give your hanging basket a thorough watering. And just check when all the compost is settled, whether you need to put a little dabble more compost to fill in any holes. 2 weeks later. If you would like to see more gardening videos and project visit silverlinetools.com.