Planted with nectar-rich plants, this hamper will keep bees and butterflies supplied with food. You’ll enjoy watching the different species of beneficial insects that come and tuck into this fast-food feast.
■ TIME IT RIGHT Early spring is a good time
to plant your hamper so that insects coming out of hibernation have an early food source. Add spring and fall bulbs to the planting to extend the season.
Agastache ‘Black Adder’
Aster macrophyllus ‘Twilight’ Centranthus ruber ‘Coccineus’ Digitalis grandiflora Echinacea purpurea ‘Ruby Giant’ Echinops ritro ‘Veitch’s Blue’ Erigeron karvinskianus Gaura lindheimeri Helenium autumnale ‘Sahin’s Early Variety’
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Grosso’ Linaria purpurea ‘Canon Went’ Monarda ‘Cambridge Scarlet’ Origanum laevigatum ‘Hopleys’ Stipa tenuissima Verbena bonariensis
Wearing protective gloves, give the hamper a light paint wash by dipping a cloth or rag into paint and rubbing it all over the wicker. Leave to dry, then add a layer of marine varnish in the same way for extra weather protection.
Cut the plastic to line the
hamper; this both protects and helps retain soil and moisture. Glue in place and, when dry, cut several holes in the liner for drainage.
Bets prefer single flowers rather than double ones, while butterflies like small tubular flowers and those with a larcje central area
6 Plant your hamper, gently
teasing out any pot-bound roots to help get them off to a good start.
Fill any gaps between plants with potting mix and water thoroughly.
‘Where to site Place in a sheltered, sunny location (although some daytime shade is fine). The hamper is planted with outdoor perennials that do not need protection from frost and harsh weather.
Watering and feeding Water
regularly from spring to mid-fall, reducing to minimal levels in winter. Do not overwater or let the potting mix dry out completely. Add diluted liquid feed to the water monthly from spring to fall.
General Care Remove any dead or dying foliage during the growing season. You will need to cut every plant down to just above soil level in late winter or early spring. When the plants outgrow the hamper, split them into more plants and replant the hamper at the same time.
A watering can with a long spout gets water directly into the potting mix.
A bee enjoying Agastache ‘Black Adder’ (top).
Digitalis grandiflora, Achillea ‘Martina’, and Verbena bonariensis (center). The large central cone of Echinacea purpurea ‘Ruby Giant’ is perfect for bees and butterflies (bottom).
Cup and Saucer