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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
Big Flower Baskets Hanging in a Tree
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Big flower baskets hanging in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g. It's more like—both hang out with each other in a strictly platonic but attractive relationship. I find the combination appealing, the trees dressed up in flowers while the blossoms look extraordinary under the tree canopy.
There are other upsides to hanging planters in the trees, such as no mess from a fuchsia basket dropping constant flower litter on the deck. By hanging mine in the boughs of a coral bark maple, under-planted with sarcococca and ferns I took care of the litter problem. The spent flowers fall off onto the foliage below. Any debris that remains visible is easily dealt with by tousling the understory leaves with one hand, while watering the container with the other. The debris falls to the ground, hidden from view, where it eventually decomposes, and adds humus to the soil.
By midsummer, the fuchsias are past their prime, flower production is ebbing, and branches look bare from leaf loss. It's time to swap it out with another container, such as a begonia and impatiens basket that is hitting its stride about the same time the fuchsia is having a mid-life crisis. The begonias and impatiens will wind down the summer handsomely under a shade tree.
A few years ago, I hung a basket of ornamental oregano—Origanum 'Barbara Tingey'—from an open-branched plum tree that let in a lot of light. Since then, the plum tree has grown denser with shade, so hanging more shade tolerant plants is warranted.
Hanging the summer shade baskets in the boughs of trees takes a little forethought. Make sure the branch you choose can hold up under the weight of a heavy container. I've lost branches before by not paying attention to this major detail. When the baskets are watered, they weigh a lot. I buy different lengths of black S-hooks to hang on the limbs, giving me some flexibility on how far down I want the baskets to hang. The hooks can wrap around larger branches than hanging basket hangers can.
Be sure to hang your flower baskets where you won't bang your head on them, but are low enough you can water easily. This is not a problem in my garden since most of my trees are heavily planted underneath, where I don't step.
by Debbie Teashon
Photographed in author's garden.