Hanging baskets – how to line them for free!

Posted in Gardening Tips, Gardening/household tips, household/gardening tips, how to features on May 18th, 2015 by John Coxon

“One man’s rubbish is another man’s gold !”

Macrocarpa Trees

My near neighbour cut back his three very tall macrocarpa conifers some five feet to allow more light into his garden and this left quite a mass of foliage and branches in the alleyway which myself , he and my other neighbour are clearing slowly via our municipal food and garden waste  recycling bins but I made use of some of it recently to line some of my hanging baskets !

 

small wiker basket in good condition.

small wicker basket in good condition.

conical wicker basket - tend to rot at the tip.

conical wicker basket – tend to rot at the tip.

I have a range of wire hanging baskets in my little garden , some bought , some reclaimed and some originally lined with sphagnum moss, others wicker. (I want my garden to be environmentally friendly and always, where possible to use items made from natural materials .) In time these organic liners perish/rot and  or begin to look a mess and be less able to hold growing medium.

coir liner damaged by birds rooting out the fibres to line their nests.

coir liner damaged by birds rooting out the fibres to line their nests.

  • Last time I needed to repair or replace a liner or two invested in bought in coir fibre ( coconut husk matting) but the birds picked at them for nesting materials! The coir liners I bought were too big for my baskets so had to be cut down to size but I kept the left overs to use for minor repairs and to put out so the birds could take that instead of destroying my baskets ! (Even then with additional balls of my dog’s fur placed in nooks  around the garden the birds still pecked at my baskets in sppring when they were building nests !)
coir liner damaged by birds rooting out the fibres to line their nests.

coir liner damaged by birds rooting out the fibres to line their nests.

 

This year  I’d run out of spare coir fibre  ( coco )and  several of my baskets are in need of repair or re-lining especially two tired old wicker lined baskets  that I actually found dumped in an alleyway and knew I could use and re-use. The wire is  very rusty but still sound – one’s wicker liner has  disintegrated completely, the other has a lot of wicker rotten or missing . (Quite like the rusty- distressed look !)

hanging basket liners (14)

As always, the wire basket always outlives any liner.  I  found a way of doing  it that didn’t cost a penny, you just need a sharp pair of secateurs or a decent pair of large scissors and some conifer  plant material!

collect your sprays !

collect your conifer sprays !

 

I love to reuse and recycle and here I made free  use of a huge pile of twig cuttings from when  a near neighbour recently significantly reduced the height of his huge macrocarpa conifers. Macrocarpa is a densely foliated fast and high growing  conifer  that has caused more than one set of neighbours to come to blows in the UK because it can block out the light when it grows too high , and it will!

In fact this idea was given to me by my other neighbour Brian who recalls conifer sprays of twigs being used by his parents for the job and suggested I try it. )

choose sprays with a  long thin central twig

choose sprays with a long thin central twig

I selected  dense sprays of about 18 inches in length and around the diameter at the cut of a normal pencil ( any thicker and the twigs are not flexible enough to weave between the wire that forms the basket.)

closeup showing the simple weave - insert thicker end first.

close-up showing the simple weave – insert thicker end first.

It is a very simple and satisfying weaving the spray twigs in between the framework and surprisingly easy. Start from the top rim  working your way down to the bottom of  the bowl shape and each time you complete the circle press  that row tightly  in against the previous row.

hanging basket liners (1)

Towards the bottom of the wire bowl shaped framework the gaps between the wires gets smaller and smaller  and harder to weave. In fact an inch from the bottom I simply criss-crossed the inside with cut ( about four inches ) twigs to cover the hole, laying them on each other. (The growing medium will keep them in place )

inside bottom finished with layers of short foliated twigs

inside bottom finished with layers of short foliated twigs

Once complete I used my secateurs to tidy it up ( inside and out) and to get a neat finish and really pleasing result.

trimming the outside to neaten the job

trimming the outside to neaten the job

 

Finished trimming and then tightly filled with good compost.

Finished trimming and then tightly filled with good compost.

In time the green foliage will fade and die but the bulk of the spray , the harder twigs and the softer  “needles” will take years to rot so this material will last a number of years and still look good.

Thanks for visiting and  do come back for more ideas and tips or visit my very active Facebook.  for details of my weddings and other social event specialist photography services please check out my Facebook business page.

ready to plant - looks lovely, natural and good to recycle and reuse and get a very natural native look

ready to add  plants – looks lovely and good to recycle and reuse and get a very natural native look

Thanks again.

Tags: , ,

Simple pet enclosure using bamboo instead of chicken wire

Posted in Gardening Tips, Gardening/household tips on May 4th, 2014 by John Coxon

We look after the school rabbits when the school is closed for holidays and it was time to make them a decent run but I am not a fan of glavanised chicken wire or tacking it to a wooden frame with small staples. I also don;’t want to risk our little grandson injuring his fingers. I came up with a novel solution today and really liked the results so far  as it blends in with the rest of the garden which features a lot of planters of various shapes and sizes made from reclaimed timber. I made it entirely out of salvaged wood with rods made from my ample collection of bamboo which I use normally for staking out plants.   You will need one  of these drill bits to make the holes, a “flat bit” drill

 

16mm flat bit drill. Flat bits , rather than twist drills make light work of drilling larger holes.

16mm flat bit drill. Flat bits , rather than twist drills make light work of drilling larger holes.

I measured the distance betweeen the hutch and where I had driven in a post for the gate and marked out to  drill holes 2.5 inches apart in each rail.

bamboo pet enclosure

 

The bottom rail I drilled into the woofd about a half an inch in . the first to the two thinner top  rails I drilled right through. I screwed together the simple frame with the cross pieces covering the end grain (sawn off ends) With those in place I selected the bamboo and lef it through the holes in the top rail and sat the end in the shallow holes in the bottom tail( same process for the gate)

bamboo pet enclosure

Then it was a simple matter of cropping the bamboo with a saw so they were level with the surface.

bamboo pet enclosure

Here’s the finished first wall in place

bamboo pet enclosure

Here’s how it looks before you cut a second piece to screen dowm over the sawn bamboo ends

 

bamboo pet enclosure

 

bamboo pet enclosure

Hrtr’s the completed gate

bamboo pet enclosure

 

 

 

Tags: ,
Translate »