by Chris Clark, Groundsman at Crathorne Hall Hotel

I am Chris Clarke, Groundsman at Crathorne Hall Hotel.

I am responsible for all the grounds and gardens at Crathorne Hall and love to keep it all looking its best.

A great way to add colour and a ray of sunshine and brighten up an entrances and patios is with hanging baskets and containers. You can even up-cycle containers, to bring a new lease of life to your fencing, so here are my top tips to help get you started. Just remember, you will only get back what you put in and you will be rewarded with a beautiful display of colour all summer long.


Choose your selected basket or container, line with your chosen liner, not forgetting to leave adequate drainage for containers. Don't be afraid to be adventurous, you would be surprised what you can do, even with old Wellington boots!


Pick a good multipurpose compost; look for one that has good water retaining properties as well as having a general purpose feed included in the mix.


Purchase a packet of water gel crystals, available at any garden centre. These are great as the crystals absorb water and then release it as the compost begins to dry out. It is great for the really hot summers, when the plants tend to struggle.


Choose your plants. It would be best to have a centre piece for the main colour and structure; a typical example, would be old favourites, such as fushias or geraniums. For the frontage plants, you cannot go wrong with the likes of busy lizzies or nemesias. Finally, finish with trailers such as trailing lobelia or surfinias.


Once it is all planted, make sure you water them in well and then keep a daily check to ensure they do not dry out, especially on the warmer days. However, when you water them, try and avoid splashing the flower heads as this can cause them to scorch. Remove any dead or dying flower heads as this will prolong their floral display.


Now enjoy your Summer with your new flower display.