In your garden: Add colour with hanging baskets

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April showers have provided perfect conditions to plant spring and summer flowers. And one of the easiest ways to incorporate colour and balance to your home and garden is to plant up your floral fancies in some brightly coloured hanging baskets.

Whether you live in a small townhouse or a country cottage, baskets are functional as well as being a simple and enjoyable method of gardening – it takes a mere 20 minutes to plant up a basket. Hanging baskets also give your garden a vertical element, which makes the most of space if you’ve only got a tiny plot.

Luke Chamberlain, plant manager at Dobbies Garden World, offers some top tips for hanging basket planting which will brighten up a drab wall or fence, and are perfect for positioning by your front door to welcome visitors.

“When selecting your plants, opt for colours that work well together and plants that flower reliably.

“Lots of plants grow well in hanging gardens but choose summer-bedding plants especially designed for hanging baskets. Some great summer plants to include are: lobelia, fuchsias, pansies, petunias and sweet peas. Trailing plants, like ivy, are also an excellent addition to any hanging-basket. You’ll need about seven plants for a 30cm hanging basket.

“Colour theme your plants for the best effect, choosing blooms of similar shades – this will look more impressive than a multi-coloured jumble.

“Make sure you sit your hanging basket on an empty pot (this will stop it rolling around when you come to plant it) and fill it with compost until it’s nearly full. Add slow-release fertiliser and water-retaining gel according to the packet instructions and mix it into the compost with your hands. Add more compost to the basket after you’ve planted, making sure you fill the gaps between the plants. Hang the basket up and water it thoroughly. As easy as that!”

• For further information or tips from the experts at Dobbies visit or visit Dobbies Garden World at Melville or Livingston.