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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Window Box- Window box-- How do You Do? Tootsie Tip #2

I have decided to link this post to Welcome Wednesday. Thank you to the lovely host blog!

Please join me in revisiting my Tootsie Tips Posts. They have been updated and revised a little bit, and I thought that this might be a good time to get inspired and take a peek!

Window boxes are among the containers that every gardener dreams of having.
july 2 2006 094

This one hung on the front of my house. It faces North.

There are unlimited options for planting a window box, and this can be daunting for many people. When I first started to plant pots and containers, I was overwhelmed with all the different things that the garden books and the garden centers offered for such a task.


How HARD can that be?

I am here to tell you that it does not have to be a tough choice or a high maintenance project!

You simply need to make a few decisions.

First, you will need to decide WHERE you plan to put the window box in your garden. Will you be placing it on the fence? On the side of your house? On the patio? Will it be in the sun or the shade? Do you wish for it to have flowing/trailing plants or just upright and tidy- or both? Do you want loads of glorious color or just foliage.....

Once you know where and how big your window box will be, you will need to plan for the things you will need to have in order to make your plan a reality!

If you don't already have a window box you will need to purchase one and the appropriate brackets to hold it.
There are several different types of window box available to us. The only prerequisite is your decorative preferences!

There are the wire ones that you will need to add a liner to in order to keep the soil from falling out. These are very decorative and can be found in almost any style, size,and price range.
I have used this system before. I purchased a pretty wire window hanger, and added one of the moss-type liners to it. I did not use anything else in it but the liner, and was very disappointed. Not only did I need to replace the liner the following year (and they are not cheap), but the whole container garden did not do well at all! The soil would leach out and run down the side of my building every time I watered. I also had to water much more often , as the liner is all natural, and it allowed the soil to become very dry very quickly. (much like a clay pot versus a plastic pot does) It did not retain much moisture for the reserve that the plants needed during the warmest parts of the day.

This issue called for some serious Tootsie Thought. I mulled it over during the winter months, and this is the solution I came up with:

I took my wire window box, and put the new (and rather hard to find -not to mention over priced) window box liner inside it. Next I added a small kitchen garbage bag. I simply opened a garbage bag, and positioned it the same way I would if I were putting it into a garbage can. It did not fit perfectly, but that's okay, as no one would see it anyways. I filled the open bag with potting soil, and proceeded to plant my annuals into it. Once the planting was done and enough soil packed into the bag to fill the liner...I watered the whole thing. After I watered, I took a pencil and poked a few holes in the bottom, and a couple on the sides. Just stab through the basket liner into the plastic bag to allow for proper drainage. This will solve the issue of over watering the pot, but will not allow the whole thing to dry out as quickly. After all the planting, watering and drainage hole creation, trim your bag with a pair of scissors. Tuck in the last bits of plastic that may be showing and you are done!

The photo below shows the finished project!


Once the window box has matured, you will never know that the plastic bag is there! You can use any color of bag-even clear-or perhaps a grocery bag....just so long as it is a piece of plastic that will help retain the necessary moisture! It's just that simple!


(above: sweet potato and lobelia)

Now...what exactly will you be wanting to plant in these window boxes?


(above: a window box planted with swedish ivy that has been set onto a saw horse…gone wild!)

A window box can be placed anywhere. The style or type does not matter a bit. It is the plants you put into that window box that will determine your over all outcome.
If you are planting in a very sunny location, and want some plants that enjoy hot summer days....perhaps considering portulaca as the edging all the way around would be practical. Portulaca is a drought resistant and very heat/sun loving plant. Marigolds, petunias, short snap dragons, Osteospermum and Dwarf Dahlias are nice choices for window boxes. Wave petunias or Bacopa will flow over the edges and cause a nice hanging display....the plants available in your local garden center will help determine this.


This one hangs on the door under the has lobelia, Trailing Geranium....

Full sun! Gerber Daisys...

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Same box...different look.....Geranium and wave petunia.

These have cheap plastic window boxes inside the wooden frame...full sun/part shade....


(above : Swedish Ivy and lobelia mixed with Geraniums)

If you are planting in a partly shaded location, lobelia, alyssum, bacopa, impatiens, snap dragon, Gerber daisy, and nicotana are nice to use. They thrive in a little cooler conditions, but will also do well in sunny locations.

Plants in partly shaded locations do not need as much watering as do those in the hot summer sun. The one below is in my shadier area...on the kid's play set.


This one hangs across from the other on the side of the liner at all...just plastic grocery bag....Pansy and Lobelia


Same planter...different year...the one below has Calibrachoa and Swedish ivy.

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So you see...with a little planning and some creative thought...a window box is a thing of simple beauty!

What do you plant in a window box?

If you would like to share some of your window box photos…click over to the Tootsie Time Facebook page and leave a photo there! I would love to see!

Until Next time… are you almost ready for the Fertilizer Friday Flaunting??? I can't wait to see what you all share this week!

Happy Gardening!

*)*)*) (you know who you are) MWUAH!

¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.


Four Paws and Co said...

This is awesome! I have a question! I have a very cute painted wood box with birdhouse silhouettes standing behind it. I'm tired of the silk flowers & want to put plants in it outside but I don't want the wood box & birdhouses destroyed. I'm going to put a liner of some sort inside the box & it needs drainage holes but what do you put on your wood planters to preserve them? ☺ Diane

Melissa Miller said...

Loved this post Tootsie! :)

I need a new one very soon.

I'll be back to learn more.

Beca said...

Beautiful! you are such an inspiration. I will definitely be watching your blog closely these next coming seasons.

Sweetie said...

Tootsie - Your flowers are Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for the tutorial. I am a big fan of container gardening. In two weeks I will head to the greenhouse to buy pansies. I always plant two pots at the end of March and they survive anything. I have been thinking about you and will e-mail you soon.

Anonymous said...

These are gorgeous!! I love window boxes!

Michelle, All Home and Love said...

Hi Tootsie! Awesome post! I had plants die for 3 years in a row in my wire basket before I finally gave up! I'm going to dig it back out of the garage and try again with the plastic bags. Loving all these tips.

Bo said...

Hi Tootsie...I just know your house is the envy of the neighborhood...everything you show us is so beautiful! ;-) Bo

"Blossom" said...

Tootsie, I felt you where talking just to me. Girl, I have all kinds of problems with my window boxes last year and replanted them twice. You really gave me a couple of ideas to try this year including what plants to use. This is a great blog. On the pots stuck inside the window boxes do they dry out easy too? Someone with your talent in gardening should own a garden shop!!!

Unknown said...

Well aren't you just Ms. Smartypants? LOL Great tips and beautiful boxes!!!

Betty said...

Thanks for all the tips. My preference would still be that you come to Michigan and let me see you do it first hand!
Have a great day.


Kristens Creations said...

Hi Tootsie, your window boxes are gorgeous!! I want to find somewhere to put some. We had a deck at my old house, they were so pretty hanging all around it. It's starting to get warm here. It's supposed to be close to 80 degrees today, Yea!! Kristen

Twice as Nice said...

I love the look of window boxes. If I can find some as nice as yours I'll be using them this summer. I too have put garbage bags in with the natural liners because they dry out so fast.

You have such a green thumb!! It's an art and a talent to create the beauty that you have. I hope my yard looks half as nice!!

onlymehere said...

I get spring fever soooooo bad when I visit your site!! We're supposed to get snow again this afternoon and I'm dreading it but I think I'll just come back and look at all these beautiful plants and pretend it's spring!!

Jacque said...

Great Post! Your boxes are just beautiful and better then any I have seen in a fancy garden magazine. I do very well with boxes also until our July heat comes, I have drip hooked up to them so it isn't a water problem they just seem to suffer from the hot air. I have to move them all to the shade. Your post was very informative and beautiful.~Jacque

trash talk said...

Oh thank goodness for Ruibal's at the Farmer's Market here in Dallas. I just go, pick out and pay...good to go! I have the brownest thumb you have ever seen, I promise you up and down.

Lynette said...

How beautiful they all are!! I am so envious of all your pretties!!

You make it look so easy when I know it does take talent to have a green thumb to do what you do!!

at the cottage said...

Thank you Tootsie. There is a lot of good info in this post :) I LOVE the wooden window box you have and especially like the gerbera daisies. I love gerbera daisies.

I like container gardening because you can do different things with each one :)

Salmagundi said...

I must look for a place to put a window box. Yours are so inspiring, as always. Sally

~♥~ Monica S said...

Thank you for your tips!! This is the one thing I DO know how to do... it's fun too!


artis1111 said...

I came home and started planting!! I love to git in the dirt. Kathy

Miss Laura Lu/RMS4291960 said...

Hey Tootsie! You are solving all my gardening dilemmas! I live in the delta and heat, more than anything, is the enemy to any container gardening I've tried! I can't wait to try out the plastic bag trick!! Thank you so much! Everything I've planted around the pool and the patio have been in wire with hay liners and clay pots! No wonder I couldn't keep up with the watering!! God Bless! Lauralu :)

Picket said...

Hey Toots...beautiful seeing all your gorgeous flowers...I have always had window boxes and now I have those wire ones with those liners and in the middle of Summer it is so hard to keep them watered...what a great tip with the garbage I wish I could grow petunias like you!!!!! I do good to get the begonias to live! I have been outside the 70's and the crabapples are blooming and the jasmine..ohhhh the smell...I love Spring!!!! Thanks for the great tips sweetie hope you are having a great day!

Ashley ~ said...

I was hoping you would do a post on planting in pots and containers*! I love hanging plants and window boxes, and this is something I can do on the balcony*! Thanks TOOTSIE*!


bj said...

Oh, Tootsie...all these tips you are giving to us out of the kindness of your sweet heart are so precious. I have learned so much from you...I am not and have never been, a gardener but with your tips to guide me, maybe I can have pretty flowers out here in hot, dry, windy West Texas after all. So many thanks to you, dear heart.
I wanted to wish you such a Happy St. Pat's day and thank you for coming by to see me.
xo bj
I want a window box on the front of my house but haven't figured out how to anchor it to brick...masonery screws ??

Justine said...

Ooh Glenda, so much prettiness here!!!!! My very favorite is the blue and purple hanging on the side of the garage, I guess it is. Sooooooooooooo beautiful.

Justine :o )

janet said...


Sassy said...

ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL...I am so glad I happened up on your have so many great ideas...

I'll bet your neighbors love having you for a neighbor...getting to live next to such a beautiful yard and such a knowlegable friend...

Anonymous said...

Golly molly you have the GREENEST thumb I have Ever seen.... your flower box post is fascinating....I planted some chicken feeders ..... they look like flower boxes..... but my flowers DO NOT look as pretty as yours...

DEB said...

Great post on window boxes. I was wondering what plants to use for the boxes that will be in full sun this year. Thanks for answering my question. Love your blog!!

Nancy Jane said...

This post convinced me that I will have some type of window box this year. Now I just have to figure out what type and where. Oh Tootsie, you're giving me more garden center should pay you a commission! Nancy

momstheword said...

Tootsie, I love these pictures! You must do a garden tour each year, don't you?

I have a big flower bed but I am allergic to pollen so it's so hard to force myself to go out there and weed.

So it looks awful. I need to either weed it and put something down, or just get rid of it. It is huge (I planted it when I didn't care if I sneezed and my nose and eyes ran, etc.)

Terrie's Lil' Piece of Serenity said...

Great post, my friend. I am getting really anxioux to get my hands in the dirt. Hugs, Terrie

Bargain Decorating with Laurie said...

So much beauty in this post. I loved all of the window boxes you showed. I'm determined to have at least one window box this year! Thanks for inspiring me. laurie

kari and kijsa said...

Happy St. Patricks Day!
blessings, kari & kijsa

Miss Janice said...

Okay, you are an amazing gardener! I love window boxes and now have a home in Florida which might be cuter with them. I'm definitely gonna try all your tips! Thank you so much for sharing them!

Leslie said...

Hi Tootsie.. You have some beautiful combinations there! I have always been a huge fan of planting window boxes and containers. When I put my old house up for sale I had two containers on my front steps gushing with overflowing flowers and ivy, my window boxes under the windows in the front of my house drew your eye to them the minute you pulled up to the house, they were awesome and the realtor said, "Talk about curb appeal"! I have always dreamed of having window boxes filled with red geraniums and ivy just like they have in Germany.. I absolutely love that look. I agree with you about the coco liners. While they look nice in wrought iron baskets, they are difficult to maintain as the water does sift through rather fast until the roots knit in well with the soil and the container. And, they do need more water, however, there is always the alternative of adding "Soil Moist" to them or to any container to hold in the moisture.

I have also planted in shoes and lots of them. For a while there when I had more time at home I would use any old kind of shoe such as sneakers, baby shoes, roller skates, ice skates, clogs, and even my husbands firemans boot. I always put drainage holes in them (a woman and an electric drill is dangerous).. At work I plant up containers for customers and last year we did a "Junk" planter program where I planted flowers of every kind in old items, such as old milk boxes, wooden boxes, barrels, etc.. anything that was old and they were the talk of the day with every customer that came in and paid the price without question. I have decided that when it comes to container gardening, it's basically a playground and you can do whatever comes natural without any rhyme or reason.. Have a wonderful day!

Sharon@Keen Inspirations said...

Happy Monday Tootsie! Your flowers and pictures are gorgeous as usual! I'm looking forward to spring! yesterday we started a "cold frame" of sorts so we could get some seeds started. I can't wait to play in the dirt!
Enjoy your week!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Tootsie, I just love window boxes and hayracks. They really add something to the house and landscape. Yours look great and I can't wait to see what you plant this year.


Nutty Gnome said...

Some grea ideas and colour combinations there Tootsie - thanks for that :)

Laurie said...

I love your window boxes. Really beautifully done. I have 7 of the welded metal basket types which I've had a great deal of success with using the standard cocoanut liners in. The ones on the front and side of my house I typically plant with impatiens and something viney -- either ivy geraniums, lobelia, vinca, or some combination thereof. The ones on my back porch which is very hot and sunny in the summertime I've planted with hens and chicks and sedum, which are perfectly happy to come back year after year, and I fill in with portulaca. I guess I really need to take some pictures of them this year!

Unknown said...

following from welcome wednesday!
hope you stop by mama days!

Anonymous said...

thanks for this tips

Unknown said...

You are an AMAZING gardener! I definitely need you to come to Utah and help me out!!!

Just wanted to say thank you for joining our Welcome Wednesday blog hop! We hope to see you stop by weekly and even maybe enter some of our giveaways and check out our freebies & deals! We are so happy to be new followers of your blog and can't wait to come back! You are more than welcome to grab our special Welcome Wednesday button which will link you directly to our hop each week & that also helps spread the word about our great event!

Kristin & Jaime
Take It From Me

Paula said...

I love the lobelia and potatoe vine pot - it really pops! Thanks for sharing all of these fun pix! Paula from Idaho

{Bellamere Cottage} said...

Yummy..... I'm always amazed by your green thumb. The weather here was horrible for the plants last year. So hoping to have some pretty pots again this year. I actually came up with the same garbage bag plan for my hanging pots. It worked out so much better.... And, I LOVE verbena.... normally does quite well, but last year was pathetic.

Looking to spring! Whoooppeeeee!


La Petite Gallery said...

That Plastic bag thing is great. I also bought the wire window box. Threw it out. My house in front is all shade, so it's hard to find anything but impatients and ivy.
Great Post, and thanks for all the trouble you went to.

sim only said...

I love the look of window boxes. If I can find some as nice as yours I'll be using them this summer. I too have put garbage bags in with the natural liners because they dry out so fast.