Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I Love Window Boxes!

My favorite part of spring gardening is planting my window boxes. They are container gardens which really add a lot of curb appeal to your house. I like mixing it up....mixing annuals, perennials, herbs, even veggies! My approach to planting....

  • If all the flowers died, would your window boxes still look great? They should! Start with a cool mix of "foliage" plants, such as Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea--it comes in different colors like lime green and dark purple) ivy, herbs (I have 4 different kinds of mint, including chocolate mint and pineapple mint, thyme is also great, lemon verbena, etc), Licorice Plant (Helichrysum)--which is a wonderful silvery color. Mix up different colors and textures. Then you're ready for the flowers!
  • I like mini Dahlias, Calibrachoa, and Violas (pansies and Johnny Jump-Ups). They last all summer, just be sure to dead-head the spent blooms.
  • Don't skimp on the white! White flowers make all the other colors pop.
  • Mix growth habits....some plants should be tall, some trailing. It looks lovely mixed together.
  • Add in "useful" plants. Pop a mini cherry tomato plant into the box--it adds color, texture, and you'll be munching on yummy cherry tomatoes in August. Do you like to cook? Add lemon balm, golden thyme, oregano, rosemary, mint. You can pinch off pieces of herbs to use when you cook, and the plants will grow back. Most herbs are perennials, and will come back the next year. 
  • One of the reasons I love Violas is that they are edible. Try adding Nasturtiums, Violas, Calendula...and other edible flowers to the boxes. I sprinkle the edible flowers on top of fruit salads.

Here are orange Dahlias, purple and white Calibrachoa, lime green Sweet Potato Vine, Helichrysum, and 2 types of yellow Violas.

The Sweet Potato Vine gets huge! It's an awesome plant....gets full and lush and trails over the side of the boxes.

This one has chocolate mint growing in the back. Yum!

I love mixing bold colors together, and adding white for pop. Jewel tones look really, purple, magenta. Gorgeous!

Any other cool tips for window boxes or container gardens? Let me know!

Happy Gardening,


KMont said...

Your window boxes are gorgeous!! I ca't have the on my house because we have bushes all along the windows, and they frequently get....well, overgrown. :)

I do a little container gardening on the back porch, though. It's safer that way, the doxies get yelled at less. We cannot keep them out of the lower plant bed off the back porch! It's level with the yar, so they almost immediately set to digging up all our hard work. The bed looks good for about two days.

This year I plan to build that up so it's like it's own walled fortress of plants, so they can't get in the thing. Take that, doxies! Haha!

Penny Watson said...

Lucy loves to dig holes in my garden. I put up a tiny fence and she either jumps over it or crawls through it! The little stinker! The only thing that keeps her out of the garden is chicken wire. Good luck!

Unknown said...

Very pretty window boxes. Because we have a contemporary ranch I can't do window boxes, but I have flower beds in front of the house.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Will you come and do my window boxes - PLEASE!!

I still haven't done mine yet. I was thinking of doing something different this year, I usually just do impatiens and geraniums, but you've got a lot of great ideas! I'm so lazy, I just couldn't get myself to the nursery this past weekend!

Penny Watson said...

Hi Amber! I like all kinds of container gardens...hanging baskets, pots, etc. But regular garden beds are also fun...I like being able to seed directly into the soil. Easy!

Penny Watson said...

Hi Julie! I'm way behind with my veggie garden. I should have planted my cold-weather crops weeks ago, but I didn't. I'm hoping to get stuff in this week. We'll see! Have fun planting your boxes! :^)

Lusty Reader said...

so prettyyyy! and i ALSO love sweet potato vines. i made windo boxes for our balcony...but they're just the wire/open kind with coconut matting and all the flowers dried out. the spot gets A TON of sun and with 3 months of 90+ degree weather in DC everything died. ive heard about trying coconut matting plus a plastic liner? or even researched buying some of those absorbtion-planter-mats as well but havent pulled the trigger. i was so discouraged after last summer but I LOVE windowboxes.

Penny Watson said...

Hi Lusty Reader! That is really frustrating. Window boxes might not be able to survive in direct sun in DC weather...too hot! I would try a plastic liner, water more than once a day, and also possibly use very heat-resistant plants, like succulents. That might work. Good luck!

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Oh I'm so envious! Wish I had the kind of house that had window boxes! Yours are so beautiful!

Penny Watson said...

Hi Julia! Thanks so much. I think cape style houses must have window boxes! hee hee

Hannah said...

Last spring I went to a lunchtime seminar at my workplace about container gardening. I still have some tips written down about how to plan your garden and which containers and plants to use. I seem to remember that I wanted to plant pineapple sage.

I would really prefer containers to having a whole yard and garden to care for. However once I start working outside, I find that it's very satisfying.

Penny Watson said...

Hi Hannah! I love container gardening. When we lived in a rental condo in Vermont, all of my garden had to be in pots...perennials, veggies, herbs, everything. My deck was like the Garden of Eden! It rocked! :^)

Amber said...

Let me just get this out of the way: I hate you. Not because of your mad gardening skillz, but because it's warm enough to garden where you live.

I'm still inside, shivering, eying my sadly empty garden because only the herbs are hardy enough to survive the 9 month long winter we seem to be having.

Ok, I really don't hate you. I'm just insanely jealous. The window boxes do look gorgeous.

Penny Watson said...

Amber....where do you live? Northern Maine? How long is your growing season? When we lived in Vermont we had a short growing season. It sucked. Just when all my veggies were doing great, we would have a killing frost (like in Sept or something!) and everything would die. I used to cry! hee hee...seriously!