On Gardening: Border and basket columns give magical garden color, floating on air

September 10, 2018

Border column planters give a vertical dimension to the landscape.

Basket or border columns may not be something you have heard of or have tried, and you may be asking what a basket column is. My best description is a large wire basket with a coconut coir liner that gives the appearance of floating on air by virtue of being mounted on a 4-by-4-foot post or metal column.

I first saw something similar more than a decade ago at Goldsmith Seed in Gilroy, Calif. The event was showcasing their new Bada Bing Bada Boom begonia series. It seemed everywhere you looked there were these begonias almost floating on air. I thought to myself wow letís take this idea to the landscape.

Today the concept is easy thanks to Pamela Crawfordís designed columns and baskets with the Kinsman Company. All I can say is, "Holy Wow," how stunningly beautiful, everyone should give these a try.

As a garden writer and horticulturist, I was in luck, as my son James, the color guru for Grow Landscape in Columbus, Ga., had a client, who was eager to give them a try. He purchased 6 of them and artistically arranged them along the front of a tall porch of a Southern Style home located in Old Town, a Southern Living Community.

The baskets come pre-punched with holes allowing for easy planting. You might think the design would be hard but in reality, the same idea of thriller, spiller-and-filler is applicable, you just have the option of choosing more species of plants.

Like all container growing during a long hot summer, regular watering is part of the regimen thus it stands to reason that leaching of nutrients will occur and regular feeding will be critically important to keep the plants performing. The Columbus area has had quite a bit of rain and heat but now five months later the baskets are still stopping traffic.

Visit to see the planters and also to get visual instructions on planting the baskets. If you are one of those gardeners who excels when it comes to container gardens but perhaps lacks the success you want in the landscape, itís likely due to the good soil mix you use in containers and perfect drainage.

You will find this same success with the border column and basket column planters. Be sure not to skimp on the soil; buy soil that is light and airy and sold by the cubic foot. It is also a good idea to buy soil with controlled released granules already incorporated into the mix. During the growing season feed regularly with a dilute water-soluble fertilizer. You will be amazed at the ability of plants like petunias and calibrachoas to keep growing and blooming with regular fertilization.

These planters arenít just for the warm season but also for the long, cool season ahead too. Trailing pansies, trailing snapdragons, lamiums, euphorbias, and ornamental kale and cabbage all embrace the change in temperatures. If you thought container gardening, growing in baskets and window boxes was fun, just wait until you try the new border columns or basket columns.



Associated Press