From the October/November 2011 Issue:

Baskets of Blossoms

    Photographer: Patricia Burke |

Extend the beauty of summer into autumn and begin to plan for next year

Extend the blooming season by visiting your garden center for fall flowers to fill hanging baskets that you can bring indoors on frosty nights. Keep the baskets watered and protect them from cool winds and precipitation by hanging them under a porch roof. And if you’re a forward-thinker, it’s not too early to plan next year’s hanging baskets.

Here are creative ideas from a hanging basket competition at this year’s Springfest Flower & Garden Show, held at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta. Garden writers Ken Druse and Vicki Johnson evaluated entries from amateur and professional designers and awarded first-, second- and third-place honors and honorable mentions.

The 2012 Springfest Flower & Garden Show will be held March 15-18 at the Sussex County Fairgrounds. For information,

First place
Cynthia Percarpio (Morris County Master Gardeners) and Jan Coppolla

Spring Paradise Basket
Inspiration: Our love of tropical plants.
Materials: Pleomele (Dracaena reflexa variagata ‘Song of India’), English ivy (Hedera helix ‘Gold Dust’), polka-dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya), kalanchoe (Kalanchoe), prayer plant (Maranta ‘Burle Marx’), sun star (Ornithogalum dubium) and wandering Jew ‘Red Hill’ (Tradescantia).

Second place (tie) TOP
Ken Selody and Margaret Williams
Atlock Farm in Somerset

Casa Linda
Inspiration: Mexican memories.
Materials: Orchid (Brassolaeliocattleya) and four kinds of epiphytes (Tillandsia usneoides, T. xerographica, T. ionantha and T. bulbosa).

Second place (tie) BOTTOM
Morris County Farms Inc. in Denville

Woodland Shade Garden
Materials: Pansy (Viola × wittrockiana ‘Matrix Red Wing’), autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora), button fern (Pellaea rotundifolia), calathea (Marantaceae calathea) and golden club moss (Selaginella).

Third place
Lauren and Christopher Hanke
of Highland Lakes

Tuscany Dreams
Inspiration: To create something we would like in the house or for a client in Italy or France.
Materials: calathea (Marantaceae calathea), maidenhair fern (Adiantum), primrose (Primula), alocasia (Araceae), angel ivy (Hedera muehlebeckia), silver lady fern (Blechnum gibbum), Ornithogalum (hyacinthaceae), cordyline (Laxmanniaceae ‘Fairchild’), birdnest fern (Asplenium polyodon), staghorn fern (Polypodiaceae), sweet moss and Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides).

Honorable mention TOP
Barbara Connolly, Cheryl Mangine,
Barbara Stiehl, North Warren Garden Club in Blairstown

All-American ‘Picnic’ Basket
Inspiration: Barbecues and the Fourth of July
Materials: White and red Reiger begonias (Begonia x heimalis), mini kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana), maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum), Algerian ivy (Hedera helix L. ssp. canariensis), creeping fig (Ficus pumila repens) and variegated ivy (Hedera helix).

Honorable mention BOTTOM
Rita M. Roykovich of R.M. Roy Designs
in West Milford

Inspiration: I wanted to create a basket suitable for part sun/part shade that will last the season as well as a beautiful basket with practical application that Springfest visitors can duplicate at home.
Materials: Begonia ‘Capricorn’ (Begoniaceae), pansy (Viola × wittrockiana), crocus (Crocus), English ivy (Hedera helix), coleus (Coleus), purple passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), oxalis (Oxalis regnellii ‘Atropurpurea’), viola (Viola) and exotic fern.

Honorable mention TOP
Anne Amels
Kuperus Farmside Gardens & Florist

Inspiration: The colors were chosen to enhance the shutters in our niche.
Materials: Pansy (Viola × wittrockiana ‘Frizzle Sizzle’), ivy (Hedera), kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana ‘Calendiva’), ranunculus (Ranunculus asiaticus) ‘Bloomingdale’ mix and sedge (Carex flagellifera ‘Toffee Twist’).

Honorable mention BOTTOM
Daniel Delcher and students of the
Sussex County Technical School

Taste of Spring
Inspiration: The high school students who designed this basket wanted it to be colorful and free-flowing.
Materials: Variegated English ivy (Hedera helix), purple and yellow ranunculus (Ranunculus sp.), pink and peach Gerbera daisies (Gerbera sp.), kalanchoe (Kalanchoe sp.) and miniature fern.