MATERIALS • Wicker basket with handle • Hook or metal bracket • Empty compost bag • Compost • Selection of late-flowering perennials such as dwarf chrysanthemums and Cyclamen hederifolium. • Selection of grasses such as uncinia, carex and stipa.
A HANGING BASKET BRIMMING with vibrant, late-flowering perennials and arching ornamental grasses is an attractive way of bringing colour and texture to the September garden as summer flowers begin to fade. Suspended by its handle from a simple hook or metal bracket, the ephemeral display is enjoyed at eye level. Once the blooms have gone, any withered plants can be easily replaced to ensure an unbroken succession of colour throughout the season.
Using a wicker basket makes for a rustic alternative to a traditional hanging container and adds interest to the display. The basket is first lined with an old compost bag cut to the desired size. A few holes are carefully made in the base for drainage, and compost is added. Tall grasses are planted in the centre first, such as the bronze-toned Uncinia rubra, and fanned out on either side of the handle. For symmetry, other billowing grasses are planted on each side of the central plant.
A hanging wicker basket overflowing with late-flowering perennials and decorative grasses brings interest to the autumn garden Photo Gallery
Carex comans ‘Frosted Curls’ and Stipa tenuissima ‘Pony Tails’ are ideal, offering a more curved habit than uncinia and spilling languidly over the basket’s sides. Late-flowering perennials in shades of sugar-pink and fuchsia, such as dwarf chrysanthemums and Cyclamen hederifolium, lend splashes of vibrant colour to the arrangement in a striking effect. C. hederifolium also bears attractively marbled, ivy-shaped leaves that continue to flourish long after the flowers have faded. Once the display is finished, the basket should be thoroughly cleaned and gently brushed with linseed oil to preserve it for another year.