What do you think?

jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)April 28, 2014

I volunteer at the county-owned nursing home. I do the beautification of the grounds (the county will not do that, they just mow the property). This picture is of the gazebo in the center courtyard, the only place residents can go to smoke. In fair weather, they smoke anywhere; however, this is their shelter for less than favorable conditions.

Several years ago, the family of one of the residents brought in hanging baskets for the gazebo. Their loved one died and I have attempted to plant new ones every spring.

Here is my problem, as you see in the picture, the baskets hang under the gazebo and thus don't get any rain. AND, they are exposed to the heat of the sun in the morning and evening. This view is looking east.

What might you consider having in these hanging baskets?

Jim

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grandmamaloy(7)

Don't know if you have the room to move these to a sheltered area in the winter, but you might try Hello Yellow Asclepias (Butterfly Weed). They are actually a perennial, but because they are in planters, they could freeze over the winter if you can't move them to a protected area. That would keep you from replanting each year, though you might have to divide them every few years to refresh the planters. They like the full sun & they are drought-resistant, so won't have to be watered as often as many.
For an annual, try the annual euphorbias. They are really drought tolerant and will also enjoy the sun.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hello Yellow Asclepias

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 2:34PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

A clarification: I need ideas for the hanging baskets.

The bed on the left is all veggies; and the big raised bed is all perennials.

I can get there to water and rotate the baskets only once a week and no one in the building is willing to accept the responsibility of helping.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 6:33PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I think Grandma was suggesting that you try the butterfly weed in the hanging baskets. Even as drought tolerant as they are, if they aren't able to send down their deep taproot, I don't think they could stand those conditions. I can't think of anything that could survive all summer in a pot with water only once per week. Maybe a succulent?

Martha

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 8:58PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I think Grandma was suggesting that you try the butterfly weed in the hanging baskets. Even as drought tolerant as they are, if they aren't able to send down their deep taproot, I don't think they could stand those conditions. I can't think of anything that could survive all summer in a pot with water only once per week. Maybe a succulent?

Martha

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 8:59PM
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threedogsmom

What about hardy ice plant? It comes in some great, bright colors, drapes nicely, can take dry and sunny conditions, and deadheads easily. I use it in similar conditions in 2 wall baskets by our pool deck.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 9:08PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Ivy leaved Pelargoniums trail and are drought and heat tolerant.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 10:02AM
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gardenper(8)

You can get those deck planters that can then hang on the outside of the railing. That may still be under the roof of the gazebo, but they would be low enough that the occasional rain might hit them.

Otherwise, for drought-tolerant and low-care hanging plants, I like purslane, moss rose, and purple queen.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 1:01PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i would use some trailing ivy ... as a secondary plant ...

drought hardy ... low light tolerant .. etc ...

but i dont understand your premise as to rain ... are you suggesting they will never be watered??? .. have you tried recruiting a resident.. as to daily care ... perhaps the prior system worked.. because the lost beloved actually took care of the plants. ... i would find it hard to believe.. that there isnt some aged gardener.. who would love to be in on this project.. and help you take care of it ... therby greatly expanding your options as to plants ....

i dont think anything will thrive in that concrete jungle.. without supreme aftercare ... and i am not sure.. that i would consider it shade at all ... because of reflected light ....

and as to drought tolerance.. if you are making the pots.. what are you using for media ... maybe you can do better???

ken

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 10:18AM
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paul_(z5 MI)

What Ken mentioned.

Also how about Portulaca? Colorful, cascading, and quite tolerate of heat and dryness.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 4:31PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

The nursing home is not a 'retirement' center, but a place where folks go due to significant health problems. 90% are in wheel chairs and almost half have dementia (at one level or another); thus no resident would be able to assist.

I plant the veggies so that they can bend over a bit and pick them. The activity department also has cooking club every other Thursday and they use whatever seasonal stuff I have.

The hanging baskets get a good soaking when I am there; and I turn them and rotate them clockwise around the gazebo. Late afternoon sun in the summer comes in hot. And, the concrete that is everywhere holds the heat for a long time.

I have the baskets and I have the potting mix and the hooks are already under the edge. I'll try some of your suggestions and see what I can make happen.

Thanks for the advice.

Jim

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 9:50PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

The suggestions of portulaca, ivy and sedums are very good. I would also give lantana a try. I agree with Ken that there is likely to be adequate reflected light. You might try one of the moisture control potting mediums. I hear you about the abilities of your residents, but it occurs to me that if they are able to get out there to smoke, there really might be one or two who could carry a pitcher of water out there for each smoke break. It's worth asking around. Also, some of the employees there might take an interest. Especially if they are smokers too.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 5:30PM
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sara82lee(8a - SE Va)

Indeed, maybe if you even left a small prefilled bottle of water for each basket, one of the residents might be able to pour some in mid week.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 8:17PM
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duluthinbloomz4

I've seen just about the exact same set up when I visited an aunt. Usually any routine or daily care fell to an aide since many/most of the residents wouldn't be hoisting themselves out of wheel chairs or their walkers to lift a watering can to a high hanging basket.

That's a very nice courtyard, some real color for the gazebo baskets would be lovely.

Maybe something like the "Supertunia" Bordeaux petunias; geraniums are low maintenance, both the standards and trailing. Angel Wing Begonias, coleus. Sweet potato vine.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 11:20PM
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