You don’t need a large garden to enjoy springtime. Just a single ball of blooms as glorious as these will command the same impact as a whole bed full of flowers. It looks fabulous, it’s bursting with pansy and polyanthus and it’s unique. Just make sure you give it a secure hanging spot and an extra-prominent location.
There are all sorts of annuals, both spring and summer bloomers, which can be used to create a flower ball. The main requirement is that they’re low growing and compact in habit.
Spring: pansy, viola, polyanthus, lobelia, alyssum, cranesbill geranium
Summer: impatiens, petunia, gazania, torenia, dwarf marigold
How to plant up a flower ball
Gather your supplies
2 x 30cm-diameter hanging baskets with chains; 2 fibre basket liners; sharp scissors or secateurs; sheet of cardboard; tie-wire; plastic cable ties; potting mix; slow-release fertiliser; 6-8 punnets of polyanthus seedlingsSTEP 1
Around the basket liner, make a series of evenly spaced planting slits by pinching the fabric, then cutting it with sharp scissors or secateurs.STEP 2
Put the liner in the basket. Ensure the slits are spaced so they sit between the metal wires of the basket. Also include a planting slit in the very bottom of the basket.STEP 3
Using your fingers, loosen the planting slits to make it easier to push through the root balls of the seedlings.STEP 4
Start by planting a polyanthus seedling in the basket base. Plant out the bottom half of the basket, then half-fill the inside of the basket with potting mix. Continue planting the upper half of the basket with the seedlings, then top up with more potting mix, to within 1-2cm of the top.STEP 5
Scatter a controlled-release fertiliser suitable for pots over the surface of the potting mix. Make up a second basket, following Steps 1-5.STEP 6
Cut out a circle of cardboard and fit it across the top of one of the baskets. Wire it into position using tie-wire, then poke several holes over its surface; a sharp scissor blade or knife will do this.STEP 7
Carefully invert the cardboard-covered basket over the other basket so they align perfectly. Connect the chains to the basket, making sure the clips go over the rims of both baskets.STEP 8
Connect several plastic cable ties over the basket rims, to give the flower ball extra stability.
Hang the flower ball in a position which receives dappled sunlight or at least afternoon shade, to avoid it drying out too quickly. While the seedlings are maturing, water it regularly, using a plastic funnel placed in the top of the ball (as shown). Every fortnight, feed with a soluble fertiliser such as Thrive. Periodically spray the seedlings with a solution of seaweed tonic to give them an extra boost.