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Basket Gardens Create A Breath Of Spring

A basket arrangement is easy to make and will not cost much if you use a few of my “frugal tips.”

During the winter months, having a growing arrangement of plants on the dining room table brings a bit of life to the interior of our homes. One easy way to accomplish this is to create a basket arrangement of plants.

A basket arrangement is easy to make and will not cost much if you use a few of my “frugal tips.” Use a basket that you have on hand or secure one from a thrift store. If it is already lined with plastic all the better, but if it isn’t you can use plastic bags or even a piece of a green trash bag to create a plastic liner. This plastic liner simply prevents water from escaping from the basket and keeps the damp soil from staining and discolouring the basket. Choose any-size basket you wish, but it should be large enough to hold the plants you want to put into it and be a size to look appropriate on the table on which it is to be displayed. The basket can have side handles, like the one in the photo or a “carrying” handle.

After you have obtained a basket, choose the plants. If the location is low light you might be best to choose foliage plants that don’t require high light levels. If you choose flowering plants they may not stay attractive as long and the blooms will eventually fade, so that if the bloom was the main reason for selecting the plant, its impact will soon be gone. Slow-growing foliage plants, I believe, will produce the longest-lasting planter basket.

You will need some soil, preferably soilless mix, to fill in around the plants when you plant them. If you purchase plants, they will likely be in two-or three-inch pots and you can simply slip the plants out of their pots and place them into the basket and fill in around them with more soil. If you are like me and have a large houseplant collection, you might use some of your own plants. Some might be small plants that you already have potted up while others might be offsets from more mature plants that you can detach from the parent plants. Using your own plants, of course, cuts down on the expense of the project.

Try to choose plants that will give variety in terms of texture, foliage colour and leaf shape. In the basket planter pictured I chose a heart-leafed philodendron which has a trailing habit and smooth, round, green leaves, a small dieffenbachia whose leaves are slightly rippled, pointed and variegated with white markings, and a spiky-leafed dracaena with burgundy foliage. I chose enough plants so that not much bare soil is showing, yet the plants are positioned far enough apart to allow them growing room. All of the plants have slow growth rates and will perform well in low light so the arrangement will look attractive for months on our table in our north-facing dining room.

The basket arrangement will need to be watered and fertilized as you would your other plants; the soil should not be kept too wet. Periodically the foliage of the plants should be wiped gently with a damp cloth to remove dust and make the arrangement more attractive. The plants are being grown for the beauty of their foliage, so the idea is to keep the foliage looking as attractive as possible by keeping it clean and removing any discoloured or damaged foliage. A decorative object such as a ceramic frog or a few polished stones could be added as an accent in the arrangement.

– Albert Parsons writes from Minnedosa, Manitoba

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