Monday, May 12, 2014

Tips For Window Boxes

My grandmother had a huge garden and even bigger green thumb.  My mother has carried on my grandmother's love for flowers and plants and I now I can feel my interest in both vegetable and flower gardening rise.  When we moved into this cottage it came with metal window boxes.  One was on the ground and the other was hanging sideways by 1 screw.  We tucked them away under the shed for a while but when David asked me what I wanted for Mother's Day I told him I wanted to make the window boxes beautiful.   

And that we did!

Just because my interest in flowers is piqued, it doesn't mean I know much about them at all.  I know the difference between annuals and perennials.  I know that some plants prefer shade and some sun.  I know that they take different forms, some grow more uniform, some get a little crazy, some creep, some cascade, etc. etc.  I also knew that there was some kind of "rule" for potted plants and window boxes that had something to do with "fillers, thrillers and spillers."  When we got to the plant nursery I found someone who could help me make my own perfect window boxes.  She asked questions about the location of the boxes and how much sun it gets.  It was then that I learned that "full sun" does not mean that the plants need to be in sunlight all day long.  It just means that they will get direct sun at some point during the day.  The house shades our window boxes until late in the afternoon but the location still needed full sun plants because come July and August, even just a couple of hours of that intensely hot afternoon sun will give the flowers what they need to be happy and would fry shade plants.  This was good to know...  She also asked if I was a yellow, red, and orange person or a white, pink and purple person.  I like all flowers but I am definitely more of a white, pink, purple person.  Now on to the arrangement that I came away with:

First I needed a filler.  Something that would grow a little crazy and fill in empty space.  We went with a flower called star dust.

In the photo of the window box above you can barely see it peeking out in the back/center but by the end of the summer it is supposed to fan out and intertwine around the other flowers.  The lady helping me found a hanging basket with it in it and I loved the effect that the delicate flowers had in the arrangement.  

Next up were the thrillers.  These are the attention grabbers. I went  with a geranium called Raspberry Twizzle for the center:

I just love how the white and pink are all mixed and speckled together:

And on either side of the geranium, you'll find zinnias.  

I also got a little lavender plant to tuck into the front.  It is one of my favorite scents, pollinators LOVE it (maybe my bees will come visit me over here!) and I'll be able to harvest/dry it at the end of the season and use it around the house.

Lastly are the spillers.  These will cascade out the front of the boxes and hang down a bit. I went with a purple mini petunia.  

The good thing about this variety is that they are self cleaning.  No sticky dead heading for me!

The plants all came out to about $60 which wasn't too much over my $50 gift card.  What really broke the bank for me were the liners.  

$18 each.  SHEESH!
I will be taking those with me and using them for years to come...
The outside of this cottage needs some work.  Some of the trim needs replacing and it needs a fresh coat of paint.  Since it is a rental, we obviously aren't going to worry about any of that but we can do a few little things to spruce up the outside for the rest of our stay and this is a great first step!

If it were up to us we'd also remove the off-center akward tree...
I am also loving seeing the flowers from inside the house. I can't wait to see how they fill out throughout the season.  They will be so pretty by the end of the summer!  
David and his dad have made so much progress on the house!  They have a lot of the sub floor down and they worked on the basement stairs today.

Ready to be secured!
Ayden and I went over and played for a couple of hours after dinner.  We took a bucket/shovel, some sidewalk chalk for drawing on the basement floor, some bubbles and a ball.  The ball was the winner for the most fun toy award because we could kick it as hard as we wanted right there in the basement and it would ricochet off of the walls and posts.  Ayden was giggling his little head off with the unpredictability of where it would end up.  I think David and I had even more fun with it, haha.

Things are moving right along!

Do you do a lot of gardening?  What are you favorite plants and flowers? 


Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Mother's Day #2"
And two years ago today: "Daddy Day"

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  1. Wow I didn't know your husband was a contractor too. Impressive. Does he have hired help or just him and his father? Yes, window boxes are beautiful. I bought 4 of them one time. My flowers all died. I don't know the trick to maintaining healthy flowers in the window boxes. I finally just used fake flowers...nobody knew.

  2. So far it has just been his dad and him but we have some friends who plan to help once it's time to frame. We might have a house raising party... I am hoping to keep the flowers alive all summer but I know it can be a challenge.

  3. I love flowers but I kill everything I plant. It's funny too since my grandma owned a florist for 30 years! I didn't inherit that from her. Your planter boxes look fabulous :)