Using Hanging Baskets and Containers in Garden Trials at the University of Tennessee

in HortScience

Many new vegetative annuals are available in the floriculture market today. Their growth habits may be trailing or vigorous and more conducive to hanging basket or container garden culture. Today's gardeners are living busy lives and housing is sometimes confined, with little land on which to garden. These factors all contribute to the popularity of hanging baskets and container gardens. Whereas container garden trials are more common in industry, few universities have added container gardens and hanging baskets to their trial gardens. The objective of the hanging basket and container garden trials at Univ. of Tennessee (UT) initiated in Summer 1999 was to demonstrate and promote this timely trend to commercial growers, landscapers, and the public. An attractive brick walkway and wooden arbor were built by a UT landscape construction class to display the containers and hanging baskets. Several challenges had to be met: funding the purchase of expensive containers; planting and placing the heavy containers in the garden; combining plants within the containers; grouping containers together; labeling plants within the containers; displaying the hanging baskets; maintenance and pruning; and most of all, keeping the containers watered throughout the summer. The color wheel proved to be a useful tool for grouping plants and containers. A handout was developed to guide visitors through the container garden. Despite the challenges, the container garden and hanging basket trials proved to be a successful demonstration and were popular among visitors.

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