Many gardeners are big fans of English gardens. These striking flowerbeds are a mixture of beautiful annuals, perennials and bulbs that bloom at different times from the early spring through the fall. They are carefully planned gardens and easy to admire when done right. And even though the temperatures outside are far from friendly to an English Garden, it is possible to enjoy a smaller version for inside your home throughout the winter.
English Garden Baskets make great gifts, centerpieces and can be used throughout the year. They are fairly basic and can be changed with the season to incorporate more seasonal plants, like a poinsettia during the holidays or an indoor mum in the fall. These baskets are great because there is no one way to do them. Size, layout, plant selection, container and accessories can change from one gardener to another, or even one room to another.
When designing your English garden basket, you first need to decide what you are going to be placing your plants in. Keep in mind, you are merely setting the plants in saucers, not planting them in soil, so you can use virtually anything. The plants will remain in the pots you purchase them in, unless the eventually outgrow that pot and need to be transferred to a larger one.
This method of creating baskets allows for each plant to be watered separately, as many of them have different watering needs. It also helps prevent root rot, because there is proper drainage for the plants without getting your furniture wet. Also, if one plant doesn’t make it or a flower is done blooming, it can easily be replaced without having to dig it out of the soil.
Another thing to keep in mind when choosing a container is the size. The larger the container, the more plants you will need to fill it, or else you will need to use some larger plants in that space. You can line your container with either one large saucer or several smaller ones to fit each individual plant.
Now that you have a container and the saucers or liner set up, it’s time to decide how you want to design the basket. There are two basic layouts for really diverse English garden baskets. The first is the height in the back. Much like container gardens, you can put the height towards the back of the basket and work your way down to the front. Another design is to put the height in the center. This works best for a table centerpiece that will be seen from all sides.
Once you know how you want to lay out your basket, it’s time to choose plants. Be sure to look at the light in the room you are going to be placing the container in. If you don’t get a lot of light, be sure to look for plants that do not require as much light. Look at the different heights, textures and colors of the plants you choose. If you do not wish to use a flowering plant, like a kalanchoe, you can create color by mixing different greens.
There are also plenty of houseplants that have variegated leaves to add color. Green and white dieffenbachia or bright red and yellow crotons can add color without having a flower. Adding various ferns or succulents is a great way to add texture. As for height, be sure to incorporate a taller plant like a peace lily as well as trailing plants like English ivy.
Once your basket is complete, you can add accessories. Various twigs, faux berries, pussy willow, or even little birds or mushrooms are popular to add a little something extra. Also, to help disguise the pots in the basket, cover the top of the basket with Spanish moss or green moss.
These baskets keep a gardener’s thumb green throughout the year, and make a great gift to someone who you’re just not sure what to get.
For more guidance on how to make these beautiful baskets, check out our English Garden Basket Workshop on January 26. At our free class, designer Debbie Wentz will teach you about the different plants to use, design methods and you will even be able to make one of your own. Be sure to bring a basket from home or choose from our wide selection to create a beautiful display for your home. For more information or to reserve a spot, call 630-323-1085.