Now that the frost appears to have gone, people have been turning to their hanging baskets and what a huge range there are nowadays to choose from!

On visiting friends this week, they were “conveniently” about to start putting together their hanging baskets when I arrived – and needless to say, I ended up doing all the work - I am sure there was a secret plan hatched somewhere!

So, to help any more friends who may be needing some guidance with hanging baskets, I thought I would tell you what I think:

• First thing to do is to choose a decent compost, use one with a 6-month feed and that should keep your plants performing all summer.

• If you are guilty of forgetting to water your baskets, use a tub and basket compost as this has added water gel - or you could just add water gel to your original compost if you like.

• The biggest mistake people make when putting together their basket is to cram too many plants in; 6 plants are perfect for a 12-14-inch basket. I still love all the traditional basket plants best, ones like petunia surfinia, or million bells – now called calibrachoa and my favourite the amazing bacopa snowflake.

• It is always a good idea to put a centre plant in to your basket and work round it, I would choose a double begonia or a geranium.

Anyone can put together a beautiful planted basket – and that includes any more of my friends who may have secret plans for me! Happy gardening!


Also known as ‘perennial cornflower’ this wonderful plant has the most beautiful thistle like flower heads – white with a stunning purple centre.

It is a spreading, herbaceous perennial with fabulous greyish green foliage which is covered in silvery hairs and is in bloom from late spring through early summer. It is a mat forming plant reaching a height of about half a metre and a spread of about a metre. It does really well in borders and beds and also can be used in patio containers