The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, June 4, 2000
Garden Life

A garden in the sky
By Satish Narula

BASKETS make a garden in the sky an interesting feature of gardening.The use of hanging baskets in gardening gives the garden landscape a dynamism, since one can change the position of the baskets at will and shift them to a new location off and on.

Baskets are a boon to the gardener as these could be displayed indoors too at will. During hot summer months you could hang them under the shade of a portico or a dense tree, and during winter, some of the cold sensitive plants like sedum (see accomapanying picture) could easily be shifted during nighttime, and moved out for a pleasant display during daytime. The display in the accompanying picture gives an illusion of water falling from one dish to another.

As baskets are like gardens in the air, and are hung even indoors, utmost care should be taken in making them. The dripping water could ruin valuable items.

  A central display with basketsThere are certain kinds of baskets that have an excess water holding plates at the base. In case your baskets do not have them, then be very careful while watering. However, the best way is to keep a deep water trough, and put the basket in it for a few minutes. After taking it out, hang it on a hook till the excess water flows down, and then you could shift it to the desired place. While making a basket you should give a jalli lining at the base. It should then be properly covered with a layer of moss grass, and on it should be put the soil-sand-manure mixture.

Usually the baskets are hung at a distance from each

other. But when hung closely, they give a better look, especially when different kind of sedum are planted. An alternate hanging of flowing type of sedum and the ball forming type (kalli patti) make an excellent combination. While hanging indoors, care should be taken that it should not interfere with the passage. And make sure it is hung high enough to avoid heads banging against them.

The plants suitable for hanging baskets are set cresia, various kind of sedums, pilea, blue bird, buddelia, ferias, perennial verbaena, zebrena, chlorophytum (spider plant), asparagus.

Hanging baskets are an ideal place for certain birds to make their abode, and if you are lucky and gentle in approach they may even lay eggs — a perfect combination of flora and fauna. Nowadays, a bulbul has laid eggs in my home garden and how many eggs do I have in my basket is still mystery. Beware, do not go very close to the nests unless you are familiar with the birds.