This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
To those who may ever have experienced considerable difficulty in growing the Arbutus in hanging baskets, the following plan may prove a help, having been suggested by a reader of the Rural New Yorker, who was successful. For three successive seasons she beautified our little parlor with a hanging basket filled with forest plants, of which the trailing Arbutus formed the principal part. The basket was a home-made affair, fashioned of annealed wire and the skirts of a superannuated hoopskirt. Then early in April, as soon as the snow was gone, we gathered trailing Arbutus, partridge berry (Mitchella repent), winter green (Gaullheria pro-cumbens), ferns and moss, with sometimes a plant of the yellow-blossomed wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca).
Having collected the plants the basket was first lined with soft moss and then filled with light forest mold. A strong root of fern was planted in the center, the other plants filled in, and the whole kept well watered. For many weeks the basket was kept gay and fragrant with the successive blooms of the Arbutus, and as they disappeared the delicate bells and bright scarlet berries of the Mitchella* nestling amid the rich foliage and soft moss, made a thing of beauty during the entire season. The slowly-uncoiling feathery fronds of the fern gave an exotic character to the whole, which greatly heightened the effect.
The conditions observed were: 1st. To renew the materials of the basket every spring. 2d. To select plants with good roots, growing in light leaf mold, and, in case of the Arbutus, to obtain plants plentifully filled with buds. This plant will not form buds in a hanging basket; and, indeed, bo far as my observation goes, it will only do so when growing over a rock. Where acres of it were growing not one would have a bud or blossom except where there was a subcumbent rock within an inch or two of the surface. 3d. And quite as important as all the other items, the basket was kept well watered and in the shade. No sunshine was ever allowed to strike it, a cool situation near a north window being found the most favorable place for it.