Packing paper - hanging basket liner.
Hi, anyone who isn't out in the garden working at the moment!
I am using the thick, rough textured, brown paper that comes packed around items ordered by post as hanging basket liners. So far it has been very successful, weathering two rain/hail storms and one very high, mountain wind, but I will keep you posted on it's longevity over the summer.
The method: I rolled up and stored the packing paper in a dry place, smoothing it out as I rolled it. I lined the baskets with about 3-5 layers (more for big baskets) and then wetted it thoroughly. I stacked the baskets tightly together, to mould the paper into shape, moving the top basket to the bottom part way through to press that one firmly too. Then I let them dry for a day or two. I added the plants, and the soil in the usual manner, poking holes for the plants as I progressed.
They are holding soil perfectly well so far, and I have found that the paper, changing to a darker colour when wet, gives me an instant indication of when the baskets need watering, without me having to climb up and poke around. Also, the liner can be composted next winter. Liners can be expensive, and often don't fit, and besides, re-use is even better than recycle.
I will let you know if I have any problems with them later in the year, and maybe send you a photo when they are in flower, because I think they look very smart indeed!