Old World Charm…With a New World Twist!

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, above, one of the wonders of the ancient world, could be the origin and the motivation for the modern-day hanging basket or bowl. The King at the time built the gardens to cheer up his sick wife, who was originally from a mountainous area and missed the green hills and valleys of her homeland.

To bring a bit of that kingdom to your world could be made possible by using hanging baskets or bowls to create depth and dimension as well as to cover hard, impersonal walls and bring about softness. They can also help create more space for a small garden or a garden with little or no garden beds.

Gardens with no grass area or garden beds can be filled with alternative containers like hanging baskets, planting troughs or rectangular pots.  Small gardens can also benefit by using hanging baskets and pots as it will increase the planting space substantially. 

If you are blessed with enough garden space, hanging baskets and pots will give your garden more definition and by using hanging bowls and pots specifically in separate areas, the garden can be amplified.

Before starting your hanging gardens, one should take into consideration the area that you want to beautify - if its in shade or gets a lot of direct sunlight. The same goes for the troughs, as this, too, will be important in selecting which plants to grow.

You should not sow your seeds directly into the hanging basket, but rather grow the seedlings first in a germination tray and then transplant them to the hanging basket, as they will need to be more resistant to wind, sun and harsher conditions.

When your seedling is about 5cm tall transplant it into the hanging basket. Make sure you check the moisture of the soil in the beginning stages daily, so that the seedling does not dry out because of the transition to the hanging bowl.  A hanging basket dries out quickly and it needs a lot of organic matter and compost to keep the moisture level up.

Preferably plant herbs together and flowers together but for the adventurous gardener, companion planting might be your next challenge you want to take on. If that is so all the plants must be either shade loving or sun loving.

Some of the advantages of growing in hanging bowls other than saving or creating space are that the edible plants are kept away from the ground where the natural predators are and are in less contact with diseases and pests.

There are many options for the type of plants you can use, after all, it’s your Hanging Gardens of Babylon!

Herbs that work wonderfully in hanging bowls for sunny areas are basil, thyme, parsley and garlic chives, in fact, most herbs will do well in a container or in a hanging bowl.

Vegetables and fruits in sunny areas that will also do well in a hanging bowl are sweet and neat cherry tomatoes, red cherry tomatoes and gooseberries. If your bowl is deep enough it can even be used to grow a root vegetable like radishes.

Strawberries are a great hanging bowl plant that shoots out runners that will naturally hang down.

Flowers options that make a good display for sunny positions are the Alyssum snow crystals, a white flower variety and an Alyssum mix with pinks, whites and purple with its small flowers which make an abundant display!

Flowers for shady areas are the lobelia and the viola that naturally carries an abundance of colour and will definitely bring that feeling of the 'hanging gardens' to your space.

With our colourful range of hanging bowls there would be no problem to find a suitable colour to compliment the plants that you wish to grow!

We have a lime green bowl that would suit white, yellow and orange flowers and most herbs. We have a turquoise bowl that would suit white, pink and purple flowers and we have a dark green bowl that would suit white and red flowers and most herbs!

In the troughs we have a rectangular pot range of dark green and brown.

Please be aware that the soil in your hanging bowls will need feeding, just as normal container plants do! You would need to feed them regularly with an organic fertilizer - either granule or liquid - of which we stock the excellent Talborne range. 

Autumn is here and we are already having cooler days, which means it's the best time to start your hanging bowls and container gardening of herbs and vegetables, to add some colour to your garden! It also gives you the advantage,  if the weather is changing, to move them around as you feel fit.

Don’t delay - Start as soon as possible so that you, too, can experience the Wonder of the Ancient World with your own Hanging Garden!

About the Author

Adele Siemssen is the Seeds for Africa Operations supervisor.  Adele is a qualified horticulturist with 30 years of hands on experience and loves pets and assisting customers to make their garden dreams come true!