Window boxes allow city dwellers to create miniature gardens offering a feast for the eyes and decoration for the interior and exterior of the home on a manageable level.
Floral decoration is universal. Artists paint flowers on canvas, Persians weave floral rugs, French distill floral essence in perfume, chefs scatter petals on salads, crafters make petal potpourri, interior designers cover walls and furniture with floral fabrics, and Londoners grow bouquets in full view at the windows. Window boxes are the miniature garden for the townhouse architecture of cities.
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Working with the basic elements of design: color, form, texture, and light one can create a small-scale landscape that captures the eye and complements the private interior decor while delighting the passersby at street level.
Window boxes like city life are experiments in companionship, compatibility, and culture. Like many city dwellers window box specimens are transplants and must adjust to specific neighborhood conditions of light, soil mix, fertilizer, space and water.
Sun and shade patterns change during the course of a day and across seasons. A southern exposure of six or more hours of sunlight encourages sun goddesses like portulaca, nasturtium, geranium, marigold, lantana, petunia, pansy, and verbena or culinary herbs like parsley, sage, dill, sorrel, fennel, basil, lemon balm and scented geraniums. For sun-screened zones plant hosta, asparagus fern, wax begonia, vinca, coleus, impatiens and caladium.
Making and Maintaining the Bed
Soil mix for window boxes needs to be light in texture. Mix equal parts potting soil, compost, sharp sand, vermiculite, and perlite. For ease in transplanting, weeding, pruning and for seasonal design changes, plastic soil liners with drainage holes can be used to slip all bedfellows in and out of the box at once. Soil mix should be renewed yearly.
Population density should be high in a window box, so strive to achieve a full, even a crowded look when planting. It is easier to prune or remove plants later, if necessary, than to add newcomers. Use plants of varying heights placing taller in the back, shorter in the middle and low trailing plants in front. Avoid lining up rows of plants like military troops. Instead stagger the plants to achieve a more naturalistic impression.
Container plants demand frequent watering, which leaches soil of nutrients. Fertilize every 10-14 days with compost tea or an all-purpose liquid fertilizer. To test soil for dryness insert a finger an inch or two into the soil. If the soil is dry, it is time to water. In hot, dry summers, water daily. Mulching plants with grass clippings or wood chips retains water
Themes affect selection and arrangement of plants and can be as varied as one’s imagination: romantic, historic, whimsical, formal, chromatic, seasonal, fragrance, culinary, or patriotic.
A whimsical summer assortment of lobelia, portulaca, nasturtium and alyssum might change to a salad spread of chard, arugula, sorrel, cress, mustard, mache, spinach and loose leaf, butterhead and cos lettuces in fall. In winter pansies, viola, calendula or cyclamen can be decorated with evergreen boughs. Let scilla, narcissus, hyacinths, snowdrops, tulips, muscari and crocus announce spring at your windows.
15+ Window box planter ideas
1. A little wood trellis around the window box
2. Vintage metal box
3. Window box with pressure treated woods
4. Autumn-spiced balcony box
5. Using Hurricane Sandy’s twig debris
6. Black planter on the brick wall
7. European style metal window box
8. Boxes with American Walnut stain
9. Adding pots to box
10. Dark Walnut stain box between two red shutters
11. Galvanised metal window box
12. Iron window box on the stone wall
13. Classic and neutral window box
14. Cedar wood planter box
15. Rustic Cedar wood window flowerboxes
bring a carousel of color to every season of the year.