More Ideas for Fun Hayrack/Basket Plantings:

  • Crystal Apple Cucumber:   Different and delicious, the 3 inch creamy white fruit matures to yellow.  Sweet, mild and juicy, with edible skin so they can be eaten right off the vine like an apple.  Harvest small palm sized fruit in 70 days after seeding, as your larger fruits will be bitter. If you have a wall trellis over your hayrack, these can be grown up instead of trailing.  Give them regular water in the heat of summer, and enjoy!
  • Mexican Sour Gherkin:  So cute, like mini watermelon, but actually a grape-sized, striped cucumber.  Also called mouse melon, cucamelon, or sandiita (little watermelon).  Native to Mexico and Central America, these will need some heat to take off, so don't get impatient.  Eat them raw, or use in stir-fries or pickling. An Australian hierloom, seed can be saved from year to year.

Less common annuals:

  • Dichondra argentea  "Silver Falls":  This plant really does give the illusion of a waterfall, as it rains straight down 4 feet or more.  Silver kidney-shaped leaves cover the fuzzy white stems. In US zones 9-10 and southward, it can be grown as a perennial evergreen ground cover.  Native to southwest US desert areas, you'll appreciate its strong heat and drought tolerance.  It also performs well in part sun as long as it doesn't get too wet--nice contrast with dark-leaved begonias or Persian shield.   Love it in the sun in a hanging basket with white cascading petunias and dark purple or blue verbena, or in a monochromatic planting with white geraniums and Skyrocket fountain grass.  The green form, "Emerald Falls," lacks that bright silver color, but is a tough plant that adds plenty of texture to a design.
  • Dorotheanthus Mezoo:  This striking green and white variegated, trailing succulent looks great in almost any combo, and will let you take it easy on the watering.  In summer, small fringed bright pink to red flowers appear as an added benefit.  Pinch it occasionally to keep it fuller, and make sure your soil is well-drained.  Pair it with bright raspberry angelonia and white mounding lantana for a knockout show no matter how hot it gets!  
  • Spilanthes, or Toothache Plant:  Curiouser and curiouser!  Very weird, yet attractive plant that appears covered in small brown and yellow eyeballs when in full bloom.  I've had fun mixing it with gold celosia and ColorBlaze Velvet Mocha coleus, or keeping it simple with red fountain grass and marigolds.   Actually an herb with a prodigious list of medicinal properties, its most famous use is for managing toothache pain, hence the common name.  When chewed, flower buds are reported to cause a tingling, cooling sensation in the mouth and throat.  While I have no personal experience, perhaps that's what gives this plant its deer resistance--unless, of course, you have a deer with a cavity.