What’s Hot in the Garden: David Austin Roses, Fish Tank Gardens, and Wicker Baskets

This month, use wicker baskets for container gardening, grow a plant on top of your fish bowl, and enjoy the new rose varieties created by David Austin

This eye-catching Aquaponic Garden will be a popular fixture in your home

THe Home Aquaponics Garden

What’s your kitchen missing?

Its own mini eco-system, of course. Back to the Roots, a company that originally began by selling mushroom home-growing kits, has released its latest product: The Home Aquaponics Garden.

It’s a simple new take on growing your own herbs, but without relying on soil – the plants sit in rock gardens above the fish tank.

The waste from the fish is used as fertilizer for the plants by being sucked up by the roots, which then replenish the tank with clean water, creating a closed-loop system where everybody wins.

It’s a great organic addition to the kitchen and fun for kids, too. $60

David Austin Roses

David Austin Roses

Two of David Austin’s new rose varieties: the ‘Fighting Temeraire’ (left) and the ‘Queen Anne’ (right)

Fans of renowned English rose breeder David Austin will be delighted to find six new varieties for spring 2013. Austin’s roses are known to forge a beautiful balance between the Old World and new by combining the perfume of traditional Old Roses with the wide-ranging colours from the modern world.

Highlights from the six new English roses include ‘Fighting Temeraire’, an apricot rose with fragrant hints of lemon zest, and ‘Queen Anne’, with its rose-pink petals, few thorns and full-bodied fragrance that pays tribute to the Old World. From $26.95 each.

Wicker Basket Container Gardening

Wicker Basket Flowers
These grape hyacinths look
fantastic when planted
in a wicker basket

If ultra-casual and super-easy is your style, plant up some wicker baskets with handfuls of bulbs and flowers. Here, grape hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum) hold their purple heads above sweet, small-faced pansies (Viola).

Sun-loving silver mound artemisia (A. schmidtiana ‘Nana’) picks up the tones of the bleached deck wood.

The trick to successful container gardening is to keep plants rotating for seasonal impact. A few changes to this spring combo will ensure summer colour.

After blooming, the grape hyacinth bulbs can be relocated to an out-of-view pot or garden corner to hibernate through summer. The pansies will slow down once summer’s heat arrives.

Replace them with a heat-loving annual, such as Terra Cotta Million Bells (Calibrachoa), which look terrific and bloom until frost. To make your new baskets last for several years, paint them with clear, flat-finish polyurethane. Line them with black plastic or landscape fabric cut to 2 cm below the edge so it doesn’t show above the soil line.

Make drainage holes in the bottom and fill with good potting soil and all-purpose organic fertilizer.

Originally published in BC Home & Garden magazine. For regular updates, subscribe to our free Home and Garden e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the magazine.