Baskets in which to grow plants are now made in a great variety of styles, and of different materials. What are known as "rustic" baskets, (Fig. 26), are made with the receptacle for the earth covered mostly with laurel roots, which assume an endless variety of grotesque shapes, well fitted for giving a rustic appearance to the outer covering of the hanging basket. Then there are the different forms of wire baskets, (Fig. 27), which, when used, are lined with moss, and being thus very open, and allowing of complete drainage, are best suited of all for the well being of the plants. A recent invention is the "Balloon" hanging basket, (Fig. 28), the trellis part of which is formed of strips of steel; some are so arranged as to hold a common flower-pot. Many beautiful forms are made from pottery ware, colored so as to imitate stumps of wood and other objects. Thousands of these baskets are used in some of their different forms, and many grow their plants in no other way, as plants are not only more easily managed in these, but many varieties so cultivated make a more graceful growth than is possible when they are in pots. In hanging baskets, the fall, or Dutch bulbs, of all kinds, can be grown, giving them exactly the treatment recommended for growing in pots on page 36. When hanging baskets are hung on the veranda or porch in summer, a great quantity of water is usually required, as the dry air surrounding the basket on all sides generally drys up the soil. The simplest way of watering them when dry, in summer, is to immerse the basket in a pail or tub of water, so that the earth is thoroughly soaked through; how often this immerson will be necessary will depend on the weather, the condition of the plants and the quantity of earth. If the bowl of the basket is full of roots, and the weather hot and dry, then once each day may be necessary; while if the weather is damp and cool, it might not require watering more than once a week. The rule with these as with all plants is - never water unless they are dry, and then water thoroughly. Just what this condition of being "dry" is, is not quite so easy to describe; as a rule most soils when dry become lighter in color and crumble freely between the fingers, and are free from the putty-like consistency they have when wet. The bowls of "rustic" and "Terra Cotta" forms of hanging baskets are usually without any holes for drainage; when such is the case, the purchaser should have a few holes, say one-fourth inch in diameter, made in the bottom of the bowl, else there is danger that the earth around the roots may become saturated with water, unless unusual care is taken in watering. There is great diversity of taste displayed in the material with which these baskets are filled, and no special list of plants can be given that will not require to be annually changed and amended as new plants are introduced. When hanging baskets are wanted for use in shady rooms, or on shaded verandas, mosses, (selaginellas), are used, and sometimes exclusively. Then for the same conditions, Ivies of all sorts, Cissus, Tradescantias, Sedums or Stone Crops, Fittonias, Lysimachia or Moneywort, Vin-cas, Ivy-leaved Geraniums, Smilax, etc., as plants to droop over the sides, or to be trained to climb on the trellis work or supports of the basket, while in the center there are used upright plants, such as Dracaenas of sorts, Caladiums, (if for summer), Marantas, Centaureas, Echeverias, Ferns, Sanchezia nobilis, and other plants of striking form or foliage. For baskets to be placed in the sun, or in good light, an entirely different class of plants is needed, for with the light we get flowers. As drooping plants for the edges of these, may be named Alternan-theras, Peristrophe angustifolia var., Lobelias, Tropaeo-lums, Mesembryanthemums, Petunias, single and double; Passifloras, Rondeletias, Torrenias, etc., while for upright or center plants, Achyranthes, Coleus, Begonias, Geraniums, Zonal, double, single, and variegated leaved, or any plant of not too large a growth, and which has brightness of foliage or flower. If hanging baskets are exposed to the full rays of the sun, or even partially so, covering the surface of the soil with moss from the woods will protect it from drying too quickly, and will also give the basket a neater appearance. The soil used for hanging baskets need in no way differ from that for plants grown in pots.
Fig. 26. Rustic Hanging Basket.
Fig. 38. - Balloon Frame.