Throughout my many years in the nursery industry I have seen and grown my fair share of hanging baskets. And let me tell you some of them were well…interesting! My first experiment with a hanging basket was before I even began working at a retail garden center, or even taking college classes on growing greenhouse crops. I stumbled upon this plant called ‘Vinca’ and just had to have it…better yet grow it in a basket since it seemed to trail. I bought a 12” basket, some soil, 3 little Vincas and I went to town. I proudly planted that basket up and watched it grow…8 feet down to the ground that is! I can’t remember how many times my Mom tried to give it a haircut!
Let’s just say after that I started officially working in the industry and taking some college classes and learned what hanging baskets are really about! Not that there is anything wrong with putting Vinca in a basket, but hanging baskets these days offer so much personality and creativity from the wide array of annual and perennial plants that you can choose from! For shade or part sun I love Lysimachia, Lamium, Lobelia, Begonias, Torenia, Trailing Impatiens, and Fuchsias. For sun some of my favorites are Million Bells, Petunias, Bacopa, Verbena, Nemesia, Wire Vine, Potato Vine, the list could go on and on! Oh and don’t forget those fun perennial accents that make great thrillers in the center of a basket such as some grasses and Heucheras!
Over the past thirteen years of growing and caring for hanging baskets I have come to appreciate the wide range of plant colors and textures you can put in a hanging basket to create something you can watch flourish all season long. I usually have four to eight baskets at my house throughout the season. I almost always have a Fuchsia basket. They are one of my favorites for morning sun and they attract the hummingbirds! Which of course keeps the cats entertained! Although I have to keep a close eye on one of my cats, Pondo; I think she’d take down a deer if she had the chance!
I never grow my own Fuchsia baskets though, not that I couldn’t, but they are a lot of work! Started from plugs they take 3-4 series of pinchings to get the perfect fluffy basket…very time consuming. So instead I like to get mine from my first college professor who taught me how to grow the best Fuchsia Baskets! I’m nostalgic that way! I also love the Fuchsia baskets we get here at the nursery because they are always so big and lush, plus they’re grown locally by one of my favorite growers here in town. And, if you haven’t seen the latest new variety they are growing you should check it out. It’s called Fuchsia ‘Autumnale’. Although the flowers on this one attract hummingbirds as well, I can’t get enough of the absolutely striking foliage color!
My favorite hanging baskets, though are the custom ones I grow here at the nursery! This is my second year designing the hanging baskets and then growing them on with the help of my co-worker Josefa and I couldn’t be more pleased! We have a lot of fun picking out what colors go together well and then watching them flourish from tiny little plugs to gorgeous lush baskets bursting with color. I have seen many baskets from many growers over the years, but there are none quite like the ones we grow here! They are just the best in my opinion! A lot of time and consideration is spent going to annual trials to see how different varieties perform, then coming back and putting together combos that please everyone. And that is the hardest part of all (well besides naming the silly things)! If I had my way all my baskets would be pink and orange! Nevertheless I try and come up with combinations for everyone. No two tastes are alike! I was absolutely shocked when a combo I created last year called ‘Sunny 4th of July’ flew out the door in less than 4 hours! I feared there might have been an uproar over who got the last one!
That being said we have improved our custom basket selection even more this year! We grew more of the varieties you couldn’t get enough of, and tweaked a few of the other combos to perfect them a bit more, and added some new varieties to the lineup! Whether you are after a hanging basket for yourself, a gift, or even your business I’m sure you’ll find the perfect basket that makes you ooh and aah all summer long!
I also hope you can join us this Saturday April 30th for our free Hanging Basket Seminar. We are going to be giving you the complete scoop on how to create a gorgeous hanging basket that will be the envy hanging off your porch all summer long! From creating combos that pair well for any light situation, to care, the best fertilizer, and much more you will walk away confident that your basket will burst with blossoms all season! You can even stay and create your own basket that we will grow on for you to be ready for 4th of July festivities! You’ll get to choose from a great selection of the premium flowering annuals such as petunias, million bells, bacopa, verbena, and more that we use to create the hanging baskets we grow at the nursery. Just remember…the hardest part is choosing which ones to put together because they are all so fun! Hope to see you there!