Gardening with James Vaughan: Patio pots and hanging baskets

James Vaughan


James Vaughan


Gardening with James Vaughan:  Patio pots and hanging baskets

Patio pots and hanging baskets

For those of you who attended Bloom in the Phoenix Park last weekend, I hope you enjoyed the event. It is always great to see what plants are in vogue and how innovative garden designers interpret their design brief. I know two of the designers who displayed at Bloom, I was in college with one of them. I have made the trip to Bloom several times in the past but didn't attend this year as I was working on gardening projects at home. I am continuing to work on the fruit terrace and other projects including potting of seedlings of perennial shrubs. The perennials are being grown from seed in order to save money. We hope to have a couple of hundred-euro worth of plants for the price of a pack of seed.
I sometimes get asked questions on principles of garden design. I have often said to clients that designing gardens should be viewed like building Lego sets. With Lego, you buy a set- either a beach scene or fire station or pirate ship. Each set can be built to stand alone or be added together to make a bigger scene or scape. With your garden you can decide to start one project this year- for example a patio. Then for next year you budget for trees and hedging. Each subsequent year you can start another project - herbaceous borders etc. In this way, eventuality all of you smaller or stand-alone projects join up to become a completely landscaped garden.

Summer Bedding
June is the busiest month for planting up hanging baskets and patio pots and planters. As we head into June the risk of frost has passed and is not expected again until September. Garden centres and super markets have on offer some great bargains. The garden centres are selling these plants at very attractive prices. The reason is that these shops want to entice customers through their doors with the offer of affordable summer bedding plants. And, of course, once in the shop you tend to spend money in other departments.
Summer Bedding is a quick and easy way of brightening up any spot in the garden. Planted into window boxes, they look great on window ledges in the front of houses. Hanging boxes also add great colour and interest. With summer bedding, there are a few simple rules to keep them always looking their best. Remember, if a plant is growing in a pot then it needs extra watering. A plant growing in a pot has less ability of store water.
Another hint is to keep feeding your window boxes and hanging baskets. Any shop bought tomato food is great for summer bedding. Yes, tomato food helps tomato plants produce tomatos but also helps summer bedding produce more flowers.
It is also necessary to regularly dead-head summer bedding. This is done by removing all the spent blooms.

A colleague recently asked me about the benefits of adding compost/mulch around the base of plants.
I explained the advantages are many. Firstly, the mulch or compost acts as a sponge and when you water the water takes longer to evaporate off.
Mulch also has the advantage of keeping weeds at bay. It does this by blocking light from reaching ground level. Weed seeds need light in order to germinate.
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