These are an excellent way of growing even more plants during the summer, in all kinds of surprising, unlikely places. Hanging baskets can be used beside outside doors, on sheds and pillars, and window boxes on walls at the end of the garden. Whenever you see a space on a wall, imagine it filled with flower containers packed with brightly coloured plants.
The most sensational display is a bright white wall with 20 or 30 small pots, nailed up in rows. Plant them with pelargoniums, which come in all colours from soft salmon pink to brash red, or your favourite herbs.
If you have a small space, make the best use of it by packing in plants close together. Do it imaginatively, and the pots will be totally hidden by growth. You can use all kinds of effects to create the tiers. Creating a the garden on the walls of the house might be something beautiful. It’s very unique and is a pretty good idea.
Arrange pots on the top of a wall (firmly fixed in place) with more beneath, or nail up metal shelves. Try creating mobile herbaceous borders using dozens of pots on three platforms, 1 ft, 2 ft and 3 ft high, supported by bricks and strong boards. With over 200 plants you can transform a display into a mini tropical jungle. It will look stunning if you include plenty of lush foliage plants, along with occasional vivid flashes of red, pink, orange, yellow and white flowers.
Fun, unusual foliage plants that can be grown in pots include Glaucium flavum (yellow horned poppy), which has the most marvellous fleshy, blue-green, cabbage-like leaves, hairy stems, and 2 in wide yellow, poppy-like flowers that last a couple of days, followed by long seedheads. Liguaria stenocephala ‘The Rocket‘ has tall black flower stems and toothed leaves. And a rarely grown star is Colutea x media, which has blue-green foliage, and curving orange flowers, followed by translucent 3 in long pods.
Colutea x media
Inject lots of colour into window box by cramming the plants close together. As long as you keep feeding them, the stress caused by overcrowding usually prompts them to flower prolifically. Try creating a lively summer display based on one dominant colour, such as blue, including different tones and hues, drawing the eye in to explore the subtle differences.
If you want strikingly contrasting schemes, use plenty of primary colours, with red and white, and blue and yellow, and a couple of trailing plants that lead the eye away, like the yellow Bidens ferulifolia with its prolific show of star-shaped flowers. If you have a courtyard, fill it with window boxes at different levels, which will help add colour at all heights.
Top care tips
When planting your containers, make sure that you put plenty of drainage material in the base. Plastic foam chips or broken plant trays are effective and easy to come by. If the pot is light and liable to be blown over, it may be better to use heavy pebbles.
For plants that don’t like dry conditions, a loam-based compost (soil mix) will dry out less quickly than the soilless types, and mixing in water-retaining gel will also help. A layer of shingle or large stones on the surface will reduce evaporation. It will also stop moss forming on the soil in wet weather, keep off slugs and snails, and set off the plants nicely.
You also need to give the plants a regular liquid feed in the summer because all the nutrients in the soil get washed out after about six weeks. Regular watering is crucial since roots cannot reach for reserves deep in the ground, and in sunny positions pots dry out extremely rapidly, so it is best to stick to drought-loving plants in these areas. If the roots curl out of the pot, either trim them back or move the plant into a larger container.