I was visiting a friend recently and was struck by how different the front of their house looked with the addition of flowering window boxes. I always say that windows are the soul to a house. Just as you look into a person’s eyes to determine their true feelings and to make eye contact, the windows of a house say a lot about its style and its personality. Therefore, especially in summer, window boxes can really embellish a home’s soul!
The blue flowers in this cascading flowering windowbox are emphasised beautifully by the blue door and blue window frames.
People often think window boxes are a lot of work and it’s true that they need regular watering. If you’re going to be away for a week’s holiday, you’ll need to ask a neighbour to water them for you. Aside from daily watering, they really don’t take that long to create or to maintain.
Here’s some tips:
1. Use a good quality compost as the plants will require nutrients to keep flowering.
2. Plant the plants fairly close together as this provides a fuller look when they really start flowering. Flowering plants like petunias will grow upwards as well as cascading downwards creating a really full bloom.
3. Some flowers won’t do so well in hot sun, for example, impatiens like shady spots, they will be very happy with morning sun but not strong midday sunshine so position them on a north or east facing window. Just in case we get a really hot summer in Ireland this year!
4. Line your windowbox (particularly if it is wooden) with plastic before you put the compost in. This protects the box from the wet soil so it will last longer and it also makes it easier to tip the compost out at the end of the season. However, just poke a few holes in it so the soil doesn’t get waterlogged.
5. Don’t forget to feed the plants regularly too. Adding a tomato food to the water should do the job well.
6. Greenery adds an interesting dimension to the display so consider adding some leafy plants too.
7. Tall flowering plants look great but if your windows open outwards (rather than sliding up like a sash window), they may prevent you being able to open those windows. This is especially important if the boxes are on the first floor and you need to water them from indoors. Consider the height of the plants and the positioning of your window boxes.
8. When the season has finished, scatter the old compost on your garden beds and refill for the next season. How about primroses in spring, petunias in summer and outdoor chrysanthemums in autumn (they will last until the first frost) for some colour almost all the year round?
9. Water storing crystals mixed into the compost will reduce the watering requirements – handy if you know you’re going to be away or busy on occasional days or for weekends.
10. Consider the scent of the plants too. Creating a lavender filled window box like the one above or adding night scented stock to a display will provide you with a lovely perfume every time you walk past them.
Happy planting and I hope you enjoy them for many months.