Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Monday 17 November 2014

Plant Me Now creative blogger challenge.

Back in October I was contacted  by Plant Me Now - one of the UK’s leading plant and gardening suppliers -  to join in an invitation only, creative blogger challenge. The challenge was to design a virtual concept for a mixed summer hanging basket, creating a blog post to talk about my flower and colour choices and how I would plant it up in a 30 cm rattan hanging basket.

I must admit I was taken with the idea, not least because, after the pleasure I took from the patio pots I planted up this year, I actually do want to have some hanging baskets around. It also sounded like a bit of  fun, so I told the nice man at Plant Me Now I would have a go:)

I started off looking for plants on line as well as searching through a lot of books. I wanted to make my hanging basket both beautiful to look at AND very attractive to butterflies, bees and other insects. I wanted strong colours of pink and purple, with trailing foliage. I also wanted some scent!  So not much to ask for :)

Normally I would have a good idea which plants I wanted to use because I would have some to look at, but as it is Nov and this is a virtual hanging basket I have to use my imagination. I had a good look at various websites selling plants and seeds and I also had a look at various hanging basket displays on line to get a feel for what could be achieved. I printed off some images of  plants and then tore them into strips to play around with the arrangement.

At times like this I wish I had a super duper graphic design package on my computer! But my torn up strips did give me a feel for the layout I was after.

Next I drew my design on paper and coloured it in so I had a rough idea what it would look like.

I normally plant up containers by eye, judging how many plants to put in from experience of their growing habit but for this I am going to put in a few more "virtual plants" that I would normally - when I make the basket up for real I can always trim them back or even remove one or two later if the hanging basket looks too crowded.

I have gone for a mauve and a pink  Trailing Verbena



 and Nasturtiums in jewel shades of pinks and gold flowers as contrast, this is Summer Carousel

along with trailing Nepeta Hederacea as an added foliage backdrop to set off the rich colours of the flowers. The leaves are scented so I am really pleased to have both colour, scent and movement in my basket.

   Nepeta Hederacea

I have a Fuchsia as a fantastic centre piece, which has an unusual deep burgundy corolla and deep pink sepals.

I also am deliberating about adding in another trailing fuchsia (Buds of May)  in different shades of mauve and pink. I love these colours and as it will be hanging in *my* patio I can please myself, but I am finding it difficult to decide if the planting will be too crowded if I have three fuchsias in the middle  :) In the end I decided to have several as I can always take them out if they are too crowded.

All of these flowers are rated highly as bee/butterfly/insect attracting flowers so I am hoping my hanging basket will be humming with activity next summer.

Next I have to think about how to plant up my hanging basket. It is easier to plant them if you place the basket in a bucket to keep it steady. The rattan basket I have to use is already lined to provide a water reservoir so I will  line the bottom of the basket with a circle cut from an old wool jumper to retain more moisture. I will then half fill it up with peat free growing medium and some of my worm compost.

I will plant the centre fuchsia first, and then arrange the other plants a pattern, filling the basket after to near the rim with my growing medium/work cast mix.

I will then carefully hang the basket on a securely fixed wall mounted bracket which was designed to take the weight of a hanging basket - they can be heavy when the soil is moist!

The basket will then be given a very good drink of water and I will make sure I water it regularly. One tip to save water - have other pots or troughs underneath to use the water which drips out from the bottom of the basket so it does not go to waste.

It is also important to feed a hanging basket regularly - I will use my home made worm and comfrey tea  and add it to the watering can as a regular liquid feed. It is also important to regularly deadhead plants to prolong the flowering season - making sure all the dead flowers and foliage go into the compost, of course!

I am looking forward to being able to make my design a reality in 2015. Plant Me Now will shortlist two of the designs,  which their Facebook fans will then vote on to decide on their favourite to go into production for Summer 2015. I will let you know how my design gets on :)

Written in association with PlantMeNow


  1. It's looking very good.

    You're the second Blogger today that I've read planning their 2015 designs for plants and gardens. I'm going to, once again, be woefully behind if I don't start doing something.

    1. You are a bit taken up with other stuff though Sue :)

  2. It's an awesome posting.It is also very useful for many people like me.Your writing is always fabulous.Wishing that u will deliver this type of post in future also

  3. Lovely basket, my kind of colours and plants too!
    Fingers crossed!


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